Prince upholds value of reading
By Rokiah Mahmud

"Intelligence and acuity of mind are priorities in Islamic teaching as they are regarded as guidelines to lead and meet the needs of norms in one's life. Islam also places high importance on reading, especially in acquiring knowledge. This is proved by the first revelation received by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stressing on the importance of reading that is 'IQRA'," His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik said in a sabda yesterday during the Islamic Writers Award of Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation (API YSHHB) yesterday.

The event took place at the Grand Ballroom, Indera Samudra Grand Hall, The Empire Hotel & Country Club in Jerudong.

Upon arrival, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik was greeted by Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, Minister of Education cum Chairman of the Board of Directors of YSHHB and other members of YSHHB board of directors.

The highlight of the ceremony was the announcement of the recipients of the Islamic Writers Award of YSHHB by Dyg Hjh Aminah binti Haji Momin, chairperson of the assessment panel of the Islamic Writers Award.

HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik presented the awards to four recipients - Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned (State Mufti); Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Haji Awang Mohd Zain bin Haji Serudin; Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama Dr Haji Awang Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri bin Begawan Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Seri Paduka Haji Awang Umar; and Mahmud Shauqi who represented his late father, Allahyarham Dato Paduka Seri Setia Professor Dr Awang Haji Mahmud Saedon.

In the sabda, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik said, "Only through reading one will gain knowledge that indirectly influences the development of the nation and mould a stronger civilisation.

"The determination shown by the writers in acquiring knowledge reflects the nation's civilisation and values, which have tested the ability of scholars in fulfilling their responsibilities towards the nation in sharing and spreading what they have gained in their specialised field.

"Therefore, the effort initiated by YSHHB in creating Islamic intellectuals and thinkers in supporting the nation's vision to be a Zikir Nation is right on track," said HRH.

The API YSHHB aims to honour and recognise the local writers for their excellent contributions in developing, empowering and upholding the Islamic eminence through their non-creative writings based on Islamic backgrounds. It was the first time the award ceremony was held.

The award is part of YSHHB's contribution in spreading the Islamic eminence aside from cultivating and fostering the spirit of excellence in socio-cultural field in line with the objectives and policies on the establishment of YSHHB.

It was joint effort by YSHHB with its strategic partner the Language and Literature Bureau, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. The award is planned to be held once every five years.

The Islamic Writers Award of YSHHB is hoped to encourage and push the young writers to actively participate in producing quality Islamic writings in order to enhance the collections of Islamic books.

Some 71 books were analysed by the members of assessment panel of the Islamic Writers Award and only 34 books qualified to be assessed including books written by the four prolific veteran writers.

HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik also took a closer look at a mini exhibition and posed for a group photo with the award recipients.

Also present were YAM Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abd Aziz, Cabinet ministers, members of the Legislative Council, deputy ministers, foreign envoys, permanent and deputy permanent secretaries, senior officers from government and private sectors and invited guests. - Borneo Bulletin (28th June 2011)