Sultan tells scholars to serve government
Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said students are the pillars for progress and excellence centred on the knowledge-based economy and innovation in line with the country's vision to develop knowledgeable, skillful and civilised citizens and residents.

His Majesty said this in his titah at the meet-and-greet session with the Bruneian students as well as citizens of Brunei Darussalam in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

His Majesty and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha attended the meet-and-greet session and the awarding of the Chancellor's Scholar Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) to three local students who have excelled in London, the UK.

Accompanying His Majesty and Her Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik, HRH Prince 'Abdul Mateen, HRH Princess 'Azemah Ni'matul Bolkiah and HRH Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah.

The government has offered the scholarships scheme which started more than 50 years ago, which is a meritocracy policy founded by the late Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien.

His Majesty was pleased to note that the academic quality of scholarship recipients was ever growing and more students were able to pursue their studies at leading universities including the Top 10 world universities.

The monarch also reminded the students that an academic certificate alone was not the ultimate measure of a student's success but the important factor was the impact of their contribution to the nation.

Precisely because of that, His Majesty expressed his regret to note that there are several students who seek away from their bond to serve the government upon graduation and choose to serve abroad or even not serving at all.

The monarch said this mindset comes from 'Syakhsiah' of a selfish, weak or unpatriotic act and underlined that students are the country's major investment and for every investment, there is a need to be translated into a product or contribution to the nation.

His Majesty further said the nation still requires human resource of a higher quality and the education sector is the factory. In this context, His Majesty has consented for the Chancellor's Scholar scholarship scheme as of this year, which is aimed at producing local academic personnel of high quality, and was awarded for the first time. The monarch congratulated the three selected students for pursuing their studies at the PhD level.

The monarch also reminded that a degree certificate does not mean that we are already at the end of the road and to assume that we know everything. The ones who are really knowledgeable, the more knowledge they gain, the hungrier they get for more knowledge as if they are not content with the current level of knowledge they have at the moment, and that is the way of a good tradition.

His Majesty also stressed the importance of maintaining the Bruneian identity to be brought forward and displayed in any place, without any shame as a Bruneian. Brunei has been a nation that is long civilised and as advanced as any other nation. The Bruneian identity must be portrayed with pride in all circumstances and places.

His Majesty and Her Majesty were greeted upon arrival at Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, London by the Brunei Darussalam High Commissioner to the UK and Northern Ireland, Hj Mohd Aziyan bin Abdullah and spouse and the President of Brunei Students Union in the UK and Northern Ireland, Awg Radin Abdullah bin Radin Mas Basiuni.

The event began with the recitation of al-Quran and doa by the State Mufti as well as a welcoming speech by Awg Radin Abdullah.

After the titah, His Majesty consented to award the Chancellor's Scholar to three local PhD students, namely Dk Nuramalina Hafizah binti Pengiran Haji Mumin, who is pursuing her PhD in Oncology at the University of Oxford; Miss Lim Chai Hoon @ Nicole doing her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge and Dyg Nurul Huda binti Mohammad Ramli, who is doing her PhD in Mathematics at University College London.

Before their departure, His Majesty and Her Majesty together with the princes and princesses consented to receive in audience and mingle with more than 2,800 citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam who are currently in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, which comprise of students from the government scholarships and also privately sponsored; government officials on duty, attending courses and also on holiday in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland; and also the three recipients of the Chancellor's Scholar of Universiti Brunei Darussalam with their family.

Accompanying His Majesty at the ceremony were Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, Minister of Education; Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office and other state dignitaries with their respective wives. - Borneo Bulletin (1 January 2013)