Sultanís personal gift for over 11,000
Hakim Hayat & Wani Roslan

FESTIVE cheers were visibly etched on the faces of thousands of less privileged individuals spanning from different groups across the Brunei-Muara District as they left the Istana Nurul Iman following a ceremony for the annual presentation of personal gift (Kurnia) from His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday.

Some 11,353 underprivileged individuals received the personal gifts, which come in the form of cash, during the event which has been held annually for the last five years to coincide with the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations.

Personal representatives of His Majesty Ė HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Ministerís Office, HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah, HRH Prince ĎAbdul Malik and HRH Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah Ė presented the personal gifts in two separate venues in Istana Nurul Iman.

The ceremony began with a recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and a Doa led by YB Pehin Datu Imam Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awang Abdul Hamid bin Bakal.

The joyful atmosphere being felt throughout the nation will be shared equally by the recipients as the festive celebration comes closer, bringing great meaning and joy to all of them comprising those with special needs, orphans, the poor, those facing financial hardships and those who receive monthly welfare assistance. This clearly illustrates and reflects His Majestyís generosity, as well as his continuous care and concern for the well-being and welfare of his subjects and residents of Brunei Darussalam, especially on the plight of those in need, in giving them the equal attention, regardless of race and religion.

Accompanying HRH the Crown Prince and HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah at the Reception Hall of Istana Nurul Iman were Minister of Finance II at the Prime Ministerís Office, Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim and Minister of Energy at the Prime Ministerís Office, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar.

Meanwhile, at the Baitur Rahmah Hall of Istana Nurul Iman, HRH Prince ĎAbdul Malik and HRH Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah were accompanied by Minister of Education, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong and Minister of Health, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Mohd Yusof.

The recipients that hailed from different parts of the Brunei-Muara District arrived at Istana Nurul Iman as early as 7am yesterday; whereby many of them provided with transportation through shuttle buses stationed at different locations for their convenience.

Upon arrival, the recipients were greeted by Istana staff who promptly registered them and led them to their seats in an orderly manner while waiting to be called to receive the personal gifts from the personal representatives of His Majesty. After receiving their respective vouchers, the recipients took another queue to obtain their gifts from designated counters.

Hundreds of personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) and the Fire and Rescue Department were also seen on duty during the event.

Meanwhile, a further 5,361 less privileged individuals from the other three districts will be granted with the personal gifts from His Majesty during separate ceremonies scheduled to be held today and Saturday (July 26), bringing the total number of recipients to over 16,000 for the whole country, an increase from the total number of recipients last year, which was at 14,650. - Borneo Bulletin (24 July 2014)