Their Majesties attend royal b'day reception
Hakim Hayat

The Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Brunei Darussalam yesterday morning hosted a reception in honour of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 66th birthday.

Welcoming His Majesty and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha upon their arrival at the Royal Berkshire Hall, Jerudong Park Country Club was a group of High Commissioners, Ambassadors and their spouses, led by the Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Mr Mohamed Jamil AJ Hashim, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Also present were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah; HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and HRH Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah; HRH Princess Hajah Masna and YAM Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Hj Abdul Aziz.

Their Majesties and Their Royal Highnesses later consented to participate in a group photograph with the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and their spouses.

In a brief welcoming remark, the Dean of Diplomatic Corps expressed the diplomats' great respect and deep admiration for Their Majesties and the diplomats' profound appreciation for all the hospitality, graciousness and friendship that Their Majesties, along with other members of the royal family, His Majesty's Government, and the people of Brunei have extended to the diplomatic community.

They also expressed admiration of Their Majesties' commitment to the welfare and betterment of their subjects in the country, which he described as being "beyond question".

He said they have become aware of the loyalty and love the people have for their Monarch. "Your Majesty mingles with people with all concerns, learning first-hand the problems of your people, listening to them, and finding ways to boost their standard of living which is indeed of great fortune and destiny that they have a great figure like yourself," he added.

Following the remarks, His Majesty consented to receive a pesambah, a locally made product from the One Village, One Product initiative.

Their Majesties and members of the royal family spent about an hour mingling with the diplomats and their spouses in a casual setting, demonstrating the close ties the monarch has with the diplomatic community here.

Today, 27 countries have set up diplomatic missions in Bandar Seri Begawan. Brunei Darussalam has established diplomatic relations with 163 countries across the globe since gaining independence in 1984. - Borneo Bulletin (10 October 2012)