Sultan awards al-Quran competition winners
By Danial Norjidi

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to present prizes to the winners of the Southeast Asian Youth Al-Quran Reading Competition 2011, last night, at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas.

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

On hand to welcome His Majesty on arrival at the ICC was the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Hazair bin Hj Abdullah, who also gave welcoming remarks at the event.

"Fifteen youth participants - eight Qari and seven Qariah - have participated in this year's musabaqah," said Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Hazair. "They are representatives from the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Brunei Darussalam.

"The participants read for two consecutive nights, with four reading on the first night, and 11 reading on the second. Tonight marks the conclusion of the competition, in which the winners will be announced."

His Majesty then delivered the titah, in which the monarch expressed concern with regards to social ills among youths, stressing the importance of al-Quran in countering such ills.

The Chairman of the Panel of Judges then announced the winners, beginning with the Qari category, which saw Bruneian Ak Md Amirul Aiman bin Pg Hj Marjuki emerge as champion with a score of 90.48 per cent.

His fellow countryman Awg Hj Nasrul Fakhri bin Hj Yahya was named first runner-up with a score of 89.07 per cent, while Thailand's Jirayut Nimnuan earned himself the second runner-up spot with 86.6 per cent.

For the Qariah category, Malaysian participant Siti Husnaa binti Hassan came out on top with a score of 89.49 per cent while Brunei's Dk Fauziah Nadhirah binti Pg Hj Jofri and Dyg Maizatun Nadzeerah binti Hj Md Daud came in second and third places with scores of 87.32 per cent and 85.9 per cent, respectively.

After the announcement, champions Ak Md Amirul Aiman and Siti Husnaa both proceeded to read al-Quran for His Majesty and those in attendance.

The participants were then presented their prizes, with the Qari and Qariah champions each being given a special Challenge Trophy contributed by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

The winners were also received the competition trophy, a B$5,000 cash prize, a souvenir and a certificate.

The first runners-up for both categories each won a trophy, a certificate of appreciation and B$4,000 in cash, while the second runners-up won a trophy, certificate and B$3,000 in cash.

Consolation prizes for both categories came in the form of a trophy, a certificate and B$1,000 in cash.

The event concluded with a doa selamat read by the State Mufti, Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Aziz bin Juned.

The Southeast Asian Youth Al-Quran Reading Competition 2011 was organised by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports through the Department of Youth and Sports, and was held with the aim of allowing youths to gain knowledge and learn from al-Quran.

This year marks the fifth time that Brunei has organised the competition, which was held for the first time in 2000. - Borneo Bulletin (7th Octopber 2011)