Nation’s progress deeply rooted in religion
Siti Hajar

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said the takbir ‘Allahu Akbar’, translated as Allah is Great, is synonymous with the country’s independence that has spanned almost three decades.

“We keep that independence with ‘Allahu Akbar’, which is unique and not practised anywhere else,” His Majesty observed in a titah delivered on the occasion of the nation’s 29th National Day, that such a practice comes with blessings that are already evident in the way Brunei has become a Zikir or MIB nation.

“With the blessings that come with ‘Allahu Akbar’, the country’s independence has produced considerable results in the form of peace and prosperity and thus Islam has become a way of life in Brunei Darussalam.

“It is with this blessed sentence that we have been performing a considerable number of responsibilities on behalf of our country,” said the monarch, indicating that the country’s development is deeply rooted in the people’s religious beliefs, reminding that such progress has taken shape after achieving sovereignty, which should therefore instil an even greater sense of appreciation for the country’s independence.

“Those who are appreciative can easily be recognised. They are open to their race, their character is noble and they enjoy rendering their services,” His Majesty said, adding “they do not want to be seen as weak and defenceless if their country were to face a threat and needs them.”

“These are the attitudes that should be inherent in each individual,” His Majesty said noting that a populace that is sensitive and patriotic, is needed by the country”.

To show gratitude for what has been bestowed upon the Sultanate, His Majesty said that we should plan and carry out activities in a righteous way and, “Insya Allah, we and our activities that are of virtue and, “Insya Allah, we and our country will not be disappointed.”

The younger generation, who His Majesty described as those who will inherit the country’s future, were called upon to play their part in Brunei’s growth as the “future will become bleak if they are not involved”.

“They must engage themselves in every national activity, at the very least to become active moral contributors, and to become, among others, high-quality individuals, honest and trustworthy whilst respecting and obeying the law and refrain from burdening the country with anti-social behaviour that “can weaken the social mechanics that will bring nothing but harm”.

With such a foundation that emphasises on well-rounded individuals, His Majesty stressed the need for youthful demographic to possess the capabilities to work and reason, hence the government’s move in strengthening the education system that involves children from all walks of life without prejudice in line with the 2035 Vision that aims to produce an educated people with skills that can contend in a globalising world.

As such, His Majesty voiced his wish to see a population that is “responsive to the work carried out by the government” with the least being that the people are able to understand the government’s aspirations in implementing its plans.

The people, continued His Majesty, “Cannot turn a blind eye or say ‘I do not know’ because it brings shame to a country that is still developing.”

Being among contenders in an era that is fast-paced, “We as a people cannot fall behind from carrying the country’s ideas. If we fall behind, it would mean that we are left behind and ostracised.

“Regardless of whomever, they must also head towards the goal,” His Majesty said and underscored that there should not be those who do not, or are reluctant to shoulder such ambitions, stressing that a unified effort is needed to create a brighter future.

The monarch then pointed out that several “big plans” have been scheduled to take place this year that will need the people’s commitment and support such as the implementation of the Compulsory Religious Education Order 2012 and the Syariah Criminal Penal Code Order. The recent regulation for the mandatory closing of business premises on Fridays until after the Friday prayers, said His Majesty, is also among “big steps” towards improvement.

“The public is reminded that our development encompasses physical and spiritual development,” and that the development of both aspects is even more encouraged as its impact covers both benefits of now and the hereafter.

“This is why it is slightly disappointing that there are those who are unhappy with such an ordinance with the assumption that it could compromise the economy.

“As I have said before that such an ordinance is important for the preservation of the country’s, and Islam’s, image.” His Majesty then equated such a negative public response to the chapter when the government ceased the serving of alcohol on flights with some declaring that such a move would incur losses based on the worry that such flights will not be as popular among travellers.

“But people do not realise the benefits of the hereafter and the benefits from Allah the Almighty. People do not see that with Allah the Almighty’s will, flights that do serve alcohol can also lose out, even more so that those that do not serve alcohol.

“What this means is that the estimation of profit and loss is solely relative,” in that, “We should accept and carry out what is best, guided by the promise of Allah the Almighty.”

In ending the National Day Titah, His Majesty extended his appreciation “accompanied by a prayer that Allah the Almighty will bless us and our country” to the committee involved in the National Day preparations and to the general population with mention of those in the public sector either serving at home or overseas, the safety teams as well as those working in the private sector. - Borneo Bulletin (23 February 2013)