Royal family welcomes over 35,000 well-wishers
Hakim Hayat & Lyna Mohamad

A TOTAL of 35,920 well-wishers from all walks of life yesterday entered the gates of the Istana Nurul Iman to convey their Hari Raya Aidilfitri greetings to 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. It was the second day that the palace was open to the public.

The annual tradition at the Istana Nurul Iman is a golden opportunity for the people, including visitors to the country to meet and personally convey their Hari Raya Aidilfitri wishes to the beloved monarch and other members of the royal family.

Their Majesties with members of the royal family yesterday received 19,280 Hari Raya well-wishers at the palace during the morning session from 10am to 12pm, whilst the afternoon session that ran from 2pm to 4pm saw 16,640 people.

Accompanying His Majesty at the Baitur Rahmah Hall were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Ministerís Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, HRH Prince Haji ĎAbdul ĎAzim, HRH Prince ĎAbdul Malik, HRH Prince ĎAbdul Mateen, HRH Prince ĎAbdul Wakeel and other members of the royal family.

Meanwhile, at an adjacent room, accompanying Her Majesty were HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah, HRH Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah, HRH Princess Hajah Rashidah Saíadatul Bolkiah, HRH Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah, HRH Princess ĎAzemah Niímatul Bolkiah, HRH Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah and HRH Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah. Also present were HRH Princess Hajah Masna and HRH Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam.

A sea of people dressed in colourful attire had gathered at the main gates of the palace from as early as 8am. The festive atmosphere at Istana Nurul Iman was apparent with an influx of people of all ages including tourists, expatriates, senior citizens, children and people with special needs all eager to meet the royal family.

Also conveying their Hari Raya greetings to the royal family yesterday were thousands of uniformed personnel, including those from the Royal Brunei Police Force, and Fire and Rescue Department.

A delegation from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and its departments, as well as Mukim and Village Consultative Councils nationwide, were also present at Istana Nurul Iman to convey their Hari Raya Aidilfitri greetings.

Greeting the guests were sounds of Hari Raya songs resonating around the largest residential palace in the world, where at the dining hall lay lines of scrumptious traditional Malay delicacies specially prepared for guests.

Making the occasion even more special, Istana Nurul Iman was tastefully decorated with fresh flowers, neon lights and Hari Raya ornaments.

After greeting Their Majesties, palace staff were seen distributing yellow boxes containing souvenirs and Hari Raya greeting cards from Their Majesties. As with tradition, children were also seen happy walking away with Hari Raya green packets.

The three-day Hari Raya open house at Istana Nurul Iman, which is open from 10am to 12noon for the morning session and 2pm to 4pm for the afternoon session, will conclude today. - Borneo Bulletin (1 August 2014)