Award recipients honoured for invaluable contributions
Fadhil Yunus

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam last night consented to present the Exemplary Religious Figure Award (Anugerah Tokoh Ugama) to Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Setia Raja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Suhaili bin Hj Mohiddin in conjunction with the New Year 1435 Hijrah at the Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah.

His Majesty also consented to present the Meritorious Service Awards (Anugerah Bakti Hijrah) to Pg Hj Merali bin Pg Ismail and Awg Hj Mohd Salleh bin Hj Timbang.

The recipient of the Exemplary Religious Figure Award has provided invaluable contributions in various fields, such as education and judiciary in Syara’, Islamic law, Islamic administration, as well as Islamic banking and finance, among others.

The recipient has served for more than 40 years in various posts, beginning his career as a lecturer at then Seri Begawan Religious Teaching College, Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) and then as the Director of Syariah Affairs Department.

The recipient currently holds the position of Deputy State Mufti, which he has dutifully served since 1994.

His extensive background in religious education during his earlier years at Arab Al-Junied School in Singapore, Malaya Islamic College in Klang, Selangor up to his undergraduate studies in interpretation and hadiths at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt has enabled him to contribute in the development, propagation and eminence of Islam through writing articles, conducting studies and thorough research concerning Islamic laws as well as presenting sermons and religious lectures.

The recipient has provided his views to ensure that administration and management affairs in the nation are run in accordance with Islamic principles.

In matters pertaining to administration affairs, the recipient has staunchly defended the Syara’ Law and is most known for his sensitivity towards any issues relating to religious institutions such as educational needs and acts of worship.

In the field of finance, the recipient has been consistent in ensuring that the Islamic financial system is based on Islamic foundations.

The recipient is one of the most consistent and precise reviewers and a member of the editorial panel in the publication of “Mushaf Brunei Darussalam and its translation”.

The recipient became a member of various committees both in the Sultanate and overseas, including Majma’ Al-Fiqh, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Islamic Banking Syar’ie Advisor, Halal Label and Certificate Inspection, and Zakat Management.

In recognition of the recipient’s invaluable services and contributions, His Majesty also bestowed him the title Yang Dimuliakan Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Setia Raja in 1986 and conferred the Bintang Darjah Seri Ugama Islam Negara Brunei Yang Amat Bersinar Darjah Pertama.

On top of the prestigious award, the recipient also received cash amounting $20,000, a certificate of honour, a souvenir as well as medical privileges in First Class Wards at all government hospitals in the country.

Meanwhile, Pg Hj Merali obtained a Brunei Religious Teaching Certificate from the then Seri Begawan Religious Teaching College and Bachelor’s Degree in Islamic Studies Education from Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

With 37 years of excellent service, the recipient has regularly been entrusted to provide courses in Fardhu ‘Ain, Fardhu Kifayah, pre-engagement course, prospective Haj pilgrims course while providing basic religious education to new converts and religious lectures to all segments of the community even though he is already retired.

Awg Hj Mohd Salleh, 82 , and formerly from the Royal Brunei Police Force, began working in service with the government in the early 50s. He was appointed as a Haj Officer in 1969.

During the 1970s, the recipient has been a major contributor in enlivening the Kg Pancha Delima Surau through his own expenses so that worshippers can utilise the surau for Friday prayers and Sunnat Aidilfitri and Aidiladha prayers. It is also used as a school to meet the needs of the community.

Both Pengiran Hj Merali and Awg Hj Mohd Salleh received $10,000 cash prizes, certificates of honour, souvenirs and medical privileges in First Class Wards at all government hospitals in the country. - Borneo Bulletin (5 November 2013)