His Majesty visits Sabah green attraction
By Siti Hajar in Sandakan

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam was yesterday exceptionally busy in Sandakan, Sabah just a 45-minute plane ride from Kota Kinabalu with several events lined up during his official two-day visit to the Malaysian state.

The monarch was greeted upon arrival at the Sandakan International Airport in the morning by high ranking government officials from the Malaysian state of Sabah; including Tun Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Juhar Haji Mahiruddin; Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Sabah; Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman; Chief Minister of Sabah; Datuk Seri Panglina Haji Sukarti Wakiman; Secretary of the State of Sabah; Datuk Eng James Wong; Sandakan Municipal Council President; Dato Khazali bin Haji Ahmad; Federal Secretary of Sabah; as well as, from Brunei; Haji Daud bin Haji Mohd Tahir; Consul General of Brunei Darussalam in Sabah, Malaysia.

A Doa Selamat was also held upon His Majesty's arrival that was read by Sabah's State Mufti, Sahibus Samahah Datuk Haji Ahmad Alawi followed with a round of introductions between the monarch and Sabah dignitaries and, later, a traditional welcoming ceremony prior to being escorted by a police motorcade to His Majesty's place of accommodation within the vicinity of Sandakan town.

Kicking-off the day's itinerary with an almost two-hour visit to the Sandakan attraction known as the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) in Sepilok, His Majesty was invited to attend a presentation hosted by Datuk Sam Mannan, Sabah Forestry Director, at the Kabili Theatre, RDC where he touched on the challenges and tribulations in the wake of Sabah's journey in preserving their pristine wild greenery and its endangered inhabitants.

Following the briefing, His Majesty, dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt, then spent his remaining time at the centre taking a closer look at the rich biodiversity offered by the environmental education institute cum tourism destination that included a brisk walk across the canopy walkway, a short buggy ride among the flora and fauna along a track as well as an on-foot introduction to the various plant species brought in to the institute from around the world and cared for by the centre's personnel at the RDC Plant Discovery Garden.

Along the way, His Majesty also took the time to mingle with six Universiti Brunei Darussalam students who are currently doing their internship with the facility known worldwide for its teaching prowess that specialises in educating young minds on the importance of environmental conservation.

According to a press release from the Prime Minister's Office, His Majesty was accompanied during the visit by YB 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; YB Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II; and other senior officials.

In the afternoon, His Majesty took part in a friendly badminton tournament with local badminton players at the Sandakan Civic Centre, the press release stated. During the visit, His Majesty also attended a dinner banquet with the Sandakan community and launched the Sandakan Festival 2012, according to the press release. - Borneo Bulletin (4 March 2012)