Sultan honours M'sian PM
By Waleed PD Mahdini

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday morning consented to confer the visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak with the Sultanate's highest honour.

The investiture ceremony was held at the Cheradi Laila Kenchana Room at the Istana Nurul Iman, where His Majesty conferred the Darjah Kerabat Laila Utama (DK) or (Most Esteemed Family Order Laila Utama) medal on the Malaysian premier, who now carries the title Dato Laila Utama.

Present to witness the historic occasion were Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pg Anak Hjh Saleha, HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah, HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, YAM Pengiran Bini Hajah Faezah, HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik, HRH Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah, HRH Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah, HRH Princess Hajah Masna, HRH Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam and other members of the royal family.

Also present were members of the visiting Malaysian delegation, which included the premier's wife Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Prior to the investiture, His Majesty, Her Majesty and other members of the royal family held an audience with Datuk Najib Tun Razak and Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor.

A doa selamat was read by State Mufti Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Aziz bin Juned after the investiture to bless the ceremony.

His Majesty then led his Malaysian guests to the Banquet Hall for a luncheon.

According to reports from the Malaysian Bernama news agency, former premier, Tun Mahathir Mohamad was the first Malaysian prime minister to have been conferred the same honour and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will also be bestowed the same award on Thursday to officially mark the start of the 64th royal birthday celebrations.

The Darjah Kerabat Laila Utama award is only conferred by the monarch to other members of royalty or to heads of government based on close bilateral relations.

The Malaysian premier and his delegation left the Sultanate yesterday after their two-day working visit. - Borneo Bulletin (14th July 2010)