Sultan's Raya gift for needy
By Siti Hajar

As the Muslim community prepares for the fast approaching month of Syawal, special attention has been given to many of the underprivileged by the kind-hearted, whose acts have come as reassurance for the needy to celebrate Aidilfitri with the rest of the nation.

Thousands of people who need aid received what they have been waiting for yesterday.

Orphans, people with special needs and those who are financially struggling came in droves to experience the generosity of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam that came in the form of cheques as well as the symbolic yellow containers.

A total of 10,758 people thronged halls and venues in four districts where HRH Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik, HRH Prince 'Abdul 'Azim and HRH Prince 'Abdul Mateen represented His Majesty to present the donations.

In the Brunei-Muara District, HRH the Crown Prince presented gifts from His Majesty to as many as 6,810 individuals - the largest group in the country.

Invitees were those who had registered with the various non-government agencies as well as government bodies comprising the Special Education Unit, Papda, Kaca, Smarter, Pusat Ehsan and the Community Development Centre.

Speaking to the Bulletin, the president of one of these agencies expressed his gratitude to His Majesty.

"How lucky Bruneians are for being blessed with such a caring and kind-hearted leader," he said.

Parents, children and the elderly waited patiently, with some arriving at the Bridex Hall in Jerudong as early as 6am.

For mother of three, Nurhashimah binti Jafar, this Hari Raya will be more grand thanks to His Majesty's personal contribution. She came with her seven-year-old son Wafie Syafiee bin Aziz.

Her son has Down's Syndrome and was registered with Kaca four years ago.

Apart from uttering her many thanks, she also said, "Though my son is not like any normal child, but at least with His Majesty's support, he can feel and have fun like any normal child during the upcoming celebrations.

"He can feel happy that he is also prioritised and cared for," she added.

Among the many who received their Hari Raya share were individuals registered with the Parapheligic and Physically Disabled Association, who were escorted by friends as well as family members as they made their way to the Bridex Hall.

Pengiran Hajah Saidah, registered with the association, was already at the venue after the early morning prayer and was being wheeled in by her daughter.

Both women simultaneously said, "Menjunjung Kasih Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik" as they expressed their joy in receiving His Majesty's aid.

"Our gratitude (to the ruler) can never be measured," they told the Bulletin and added that they would pray for His Majesty's longevity for being remembered by the benevolent ruler.

Non-Muslims registered with any of the bodies were also recognised in yesterday's gathering.

A mother of 10-year-old Leong Chih Siang, who lives with autism, appreciated His Majesty's warmth and expressed her gratitude on behalf of her family. - Borneo Bulletin (7th September 2010)