Royalty at YSHHB's joyous Hari Raya celebration
By Aziz Idris

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday consented to attend the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (YSHHB) Raya celebration which played out at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.

Accompanying the monarch were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, and HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik.

Members of the YSHHB Board of Directors were on hand to greet His Majesty and other members of the royal family upon their arrival.

This year marks the eight of such celebrations, and it carried the theme 'Providing support service for local SMEs.'

In his welcoming speech, Chairman of YSHHB Board of Directors Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awg Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong said, "Small and medium enterprises as well as joint-venture companies is a sector that plays an important role in generating economic development.

"We are proud of the number of SMEs across all sectors, whose number exceeds 9,000. Though this is a large number, there are still some who, due to certain factors, are unable to expand their businesses," he added.

In view of this, the chairman noted the event was a good opportunity for SMEs to meet and exchange ideas on how to improve the roles of SMEs in the country, while it also served as a platform for them to meet agencies that provides support services, such as the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, I-Centre, financial institutions and LiveWire.

The chairman also pointed out that some SMEs still need to overcome fundamental issues that included enhancing skills and knowledge in management, financing, consultancy, information and marketing, and in coming up with innovative ideas so as to succeed in tapping both the local and international markets.

All these are important in preparation for the challenges to come from competitors, and thus creates businesses that are both sustainable and progressive, he explained.

Over 2,000 people turned up for the Raya celebration comprising entrepreneurs from local SMEs and joint-venture companies.

The day also saw His Majesty delivering a titah, and later, a performance by Yayasan members to enliven the celebration.

Also present were Pengiran Cheterias, cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, members of the Consultative Council, permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretaries, and officers from public and private sectors who have continuously supported Yayasan projects and activities.

Guests later took the opportunity to extend their festive greetings and have photos taken with His Majesty and members of the royal family. - Borneo Bulletin (10th September 2011)