Prince launches nationwide kurma distribution
By Rokiah Mahmud

With the upcoming holy fasting month of Ramadhan just a few weeks away, Muslims have been urged to prepare themselves diligently in order to achieve the goal of performing the fast in a proper manner and in complete faith.

His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik made the call in a sabda yesterday, while officiating the launch of the distribution of kurma (dates), in a ceremony held at the Chancellor Hall of Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

"Although many Muslims in the country are ready to welcome the fasting month by engaging in various religious activities, there are still a number of people who are not yet ready to change their daily food routines, especially during daytime," HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik said in the sabda.

"Another part of the Muslim community, meanwhile, celebrate the holy month with a feeling of happiness, because in addition to intensifying their acts of worship, they can reduce their daily food intake, thus losing weight as they improve their health.

"We have been reminded that an uncontrolled and imbalanced diet is the main cause of various kinds of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke and cancer," HRH added.

"Obesity is one of the health problems faced by our community. Where in the past, being overweight had often been regarded as a sign of good health, nowadays it is associated with health problems."

HRH further said that, in general terms, unhealthy eating habits and lifestyles constitute the main contributing factor to overweight and obesity.

HRH stressed that various programmes and activities are being carried out by the government in an effort to raise public awareness on healthy eating and lifestyle, alongside reducing the problem of obesity amongst the citizens and residents of Brunei.

The function earlier began with welcoming remarks delivered by Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdul Rahman bin Hj Ibrahim, the Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office in his capacity as Acting Chairman of the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (Yayasan SHHB) Board of Directors.

The highlight of the event was the distribution of the kurma to Penghulu Mukims and village heads from all four districts, Commanders and Commandants of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and Formation Directors and Commanding Officers of the Royal Brunei Police Force.

The dates are a personal contribution from His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to all Muslims in the country in view of the upcoming month of Ramadhan.

A total of 143 metric tonnes of "Safawi" dates that had been specially shipped by the Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah Dates Company in Saudi Arabia are being distributed in Brunei in preparation for Ramadhan. The volume marks a five-tonne increase over the previous Ramadhan season to accommodate the increasing number of Muslims in the country.

Every Muslim individual in the country, regardless of their age, race and nationality are entitled to receive 300 grammes of Safawi dates.

The management of the date distribution from His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is an annual initiative of Yayasan SHHB.

Also present at yesterday's launch were members of the Yayaysan SHHB Board of Directors and Administration; the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs; Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces; Commissioner of Police, Royal Brunei Police Force; District Officers, Penghulu Mukims, village heads, longhouse chiefs and other senior government officers who are involved in the distribution of the dates. - Borneo Bulletin (13th July 2011)