Prince 'Abdul Malik officiates dates distribution
By Syafiq Affendy

Safawi dates, 138 metric tonnes of it, were distributed to penghulus and village heads, commanders and commandants of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and formation directors of the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) yesterday at a ceremony graced by His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik. The ceremony was held at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam's (UBD) Chancellor Hall.

The ceremony was also attended by administration members and members of Board of Directors of Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (YSHHB), permanent secretaries at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Commander of the RBAF, Police Commissioner of RBPF, Vice Chancellor of UBD, district officers, heads of longhouses and senior government officers.

In a Sabda by HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik, he said, "Ramadhan is a month full of blessings, and also challenges. The challenges are not only fasting from food and water, but also refraining from doing any nefarious deeds forbidden by Allah the Almighty. Despite fasting, if tainted by wrongdoings, the act becomes futile."

HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik also recalled a hadith which said that fasting is for Allah the Almighty while other good deeds and practices are for one's self.

"This means that the deed of fasting relates directly to one's faith towards Allah the Almighty, obeying and carrying out fasting really means looking after their relationship with Allah the Almighty," added HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik.

HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik went on to say, "Meanwhile during the fast, the relationship among humans must also be observed. How is the relationship among ourselves? Don't cut ties, don't slander, don't lie and don't do wrong onto others.

"Also in the month of Ramadhan, we can take the opportunity to increase alms as it is also the month most encouraged to give alms. Isn't this a way to foster ties among the giver and the receiver?

"During that time, the rezeki or provisions that we obtain when we contribute to the needy in the name of giving alms, God willing, rewards will be given accordingly by Allah the Almighty."

HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik praised Allah the Almighty for giving His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam longevity and good health. With these blessings, His Majesty yet again has been able to provide dates to the people of Brunei to break their fast in the coming month of Ramadhan.

With the contribution, each Muslim resident in Brunei will receive the dates which come in containers of 300 grammes each through penghulus and village heads while RBAF and RBPF personnel will receive the dates from their commanders and commandants of the RBAF and formation directors of the RBPF.

A Saudi Arabian company - Al Madinah Dates Company - supplied the dates in a three-year contract since 2008.

This year's supply was increased by 3.5 metric tonnes compared to 2009, where the dates were all shipped in 40-foot chilled containers from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on June 8 and arrived at Muara Port in the middle of this month. - Borneo Bulletin (25th July 2010)