Belait greets His Majesty
Faza Suraj

RAIN or shine, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam makes it to meet his subjects for a meet and greet session. His Majesty’s subjects, too, show their outpouring of love and loyalty to their beloved ruler by turning out in big numbers to greet the ruler.

Rain clouds hovered over the Padang Bandaran Kuala Belait yesterday, but none seemed to be worried about it as citizens and residents of Belait District came in droves to shake hands with His Majesty and other members of the royal family in a get-together event. More such events will follow in other districts in the coming days.

The streets nearby the Padang Bandaran were lined with barricades by the Royal Brunei Police Force to only let committee members through, as members of the public could be seen walking towards the venue as early as 7am.

As the moment drew closer to the arrival of His Majesty, the atmosphere at the Padang Bandaran, especially amongst the performance participants and committee members, grew into a frenzy. When the announcement came to tell everyone to get into position followed by the sound of a helicopter landing at a nearby helipad, time stood still.

Welcoming His Majesty, HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, and HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik on arrival were Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman; Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohammad Yussof; Commander of RBAF, Commissioner of Police and other senior government officials.

Also present at the get-together were His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah.

With the announcement, “Keberangkatan Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan dan Yang Di-Pertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam” and the ruler coming in a black Rolls Royce, the silence gave way to the National Anthem “Allah Peliharakan Sultan” sung in unison by people who were present followed by the three salutations of “Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik”. The venue came alive after that.

Awg Hj Haris bin Hj Othman, Belait District Officer, announced in his welcoming speech that 668 were to participate in the performance and 583 of them are students from colleges and schools and 85 officials and staff from Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) Company Sdn Bhd and Brunei LNG. The theme was “Kekal Beraja Sejahtera Negara” or loosely translated as “Eternal Monarchy, Prosperous Sultanate”.

After the performance came the moment everyone was waiting for – be they from as far as Mukim Melilas to the nearby town of Seria, regardless of religion or race, young or old and committee members included. It was the meet and greet session with His Majesty and other members of the royal family.

Camera phones at the ready, this was an opportunity to get up close and personal with His Majesty. Be it for first timers or avid festival goers, this chance does not come often as the feeling is unparalleled.

His Majesty, the people’s monarch that he is, patiently took selfies with his subjects, a sign of the ruler who is fond of his subjects.

After the conclusion of the event at the Padang Bandaran, His Majesty and other members of the royal family went to Dewan Santap near the official residence of the Belait District Officer for a luncheon with the committee members and invited guests.

Also present at the event were Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Permanent Secretaries as well as members of the Executive Committee for His Majesty’s Birthday Celebrations and other committee members of the event. - Borneo Bulletin (18 August 2014)