Over 35,000 wish royal family ‘Selamat Hari Raya’
Rokiah Mahmud

THE Istana Nurul Iman once again opened its doors to members of the public, giving them an opportunity to meet and greet His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha and other members of the royal family on the first day of the Istana’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri Open House for the public yesterday.

The Hari Raya Open House at the Istana Nurul Iman is highly anticipated by many every year, including senior citizens, youth, children, individuals with special needs, expatriates, tourists and even the foreign media, who cannot pass up the unique experience of extending their personal greetings to members of the royal family, including both the monarch and Her Majesty.

The annual tradition saw thousands of well-wishers including uniformed personnel of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces throng Istana Nurul Iman as early as seven in the morning. This is a demonstration of love and affection toward the monarch by his subjects regarding his concerns for the well-being of his subjects.

The total number of visitors on the first day of Hari Raya Open House yesterday was 35,387.

Accompanying His Majesty to receive the well-wishers at the Baitul Rahmah Hall were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel and other members of the royal family.

Meanwhile, receiving female well-wishers in an adjacent room, accompanying Her Majesty were HRH Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah, HRH Princess Hajah Muta-Wakkilah Hayatul Bolkiah, HRH Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah and HRH Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah. Also present were HRH Princess Hajah Masna and HRH Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam.

Shuttle buses were provided to transport visitors to the Istana while police and health personnel were stationed at checkpoints to conduct security and screening checks. After passing these checkpoints, visitors were then ushered to collect coupons for customary Hari Raya gifts that can be collected while exiting.

It was a lively atmosphere as the public dining hall was abuzz with conversation and laughter, where the ambience was further complemented by Hari Raya songs and melodies in the background.

Uniformed personnel handled the crowd well, which was observed as being more organised and flowing more freely this year.

Istana Nurul Iman will be open for three days between 10am and 12 noon for the morning session and 2pm and 4pm in the afternoon from August 10 to 12.

For the morning session of the first day, a total of 21, 896 well-wishers were recorded and a total of 13,941 well-wishers were registered during the afternoon.

Also in attendance were YAM Pengiran Indera Setia Diraja Sahibul Karib Pengiran Anak Haji Idris, YAM Pengiran Maharaja Setia Laila Diraja Sahibul Irshad Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Rahim and YAM Pengiran Anak Haji Muhammad Ruzaini. - Borneo Bulletin (11 August 2013)