Lest We Forget


Compiled by Dk Diana

It’s Bandar Seri Begawan now

OCTOBER 3, 1970 – At midnight tonight (Saturday) Brunei’s Menteri Besar, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Haji Mohd Yusof bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahim will throw a switch to turn off illuminated signs on public buildings reading ‘Bandar Brunei’.

When the signs are switched on, a minute later they will read ‘Bandar Seri Begawan’, the State capital’s new name honouring the Sultan’s father Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien.

The change of name honours Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan who until his abdication on October 4, 1967 was 28th Sultan of Brunei and under whose reign the State saw more development than at any other time in its history.

When he succeeded to the throne in June 1950 on the death of his elder brother, Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin, the State capital was still recovering from World War Two.

During the Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan’s reign most of Brunei’s present development projects were planned and started. These include the international airport, deep-sea port at Muara, a State wide road programme, water supply schemes for the Belait and Brunei-Muara districts and sewage disposal schemes for Bandar Seri Begawan, Kuala Belait and Seria.

An aerial view of Bandar Seri Begawan
A view of Kampong Ayer

It was during his reign also hit the present education programme was introduced and this has resulted in a steady rise in the number of Brunei citizens going abroad for higher education and in the number of students leaving Brunei schools with Cambridge School Certificates.

One of the most significant achievements of his reign was the signing of the 1959 agreement which gave the State full internal self government while leaving defence and foreign affairs to Britain.

The Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan’s abdication did not mean his withdrawal from public life. He still acts as an adviser to his son, the Sultan, whose task it is to continue the development of the State set in motion by his father.

The change of name signifies the gratitude of the people of Brunei for all that the Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan has done for the State.