Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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40 years of independence is a blessing, says Sultan

Being able to enjoy 40 years of independence is a blessing from Allah the Almighty, said His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during a titah yesterday to mark the Sultanate’s 40th National Day today.

His Majesty said the true meaning of independence includes freedom and harmony, and it is through the efforts and struggles of past and present generations that the country is able to enjoy such a level of independence.

The nation’s independence, the monarch added, is fuelled by unity and patriotism of its people, and called for it to be “upheld for the sanctity of the religion, sovereignty of the people, nation and ruler”.

His Majesty said in the past four decades since independence, there have been a number of meaningful achievements, including being ranked 51st out of 191 countries in the United Nations (UN) Human Development Index in 2021, which the monarch believes signifies “the success of our efforts in extending the lifespan of the people, enhancing their skills and knowledge, and improving their quality of life, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Brunei Vision 2035”.

The monarch also attributed Brunei’s standing in the index to the effectiveness of initiatives under the National Development Plan (RKN) in bringing positive change to the nation as well as the people, such as improving the workforce and implementing innovative solutions.

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam delivers a titah. PHOTO: INFOFOTO

On economic development, His Majesty applauded the progress seen in sectors outside of the oil and gas industry.

“Our efforts paid off when Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd successfully delivered the first shipment using a container vessel from Muara Port to Qinzhou Port, China last year,” said the monarch. “The effort was in tandem with the goal of turning the Sultanate into an important trade hub, especially in the BIMP-EAGA region.”

His Majesty also expressed hope to see the effort being extended to joint venture in a bid to secure food security through a reduction in dependency on imports, as well as local entrepreneurs joining industries that have been prioritised for development.

On the international front, the monarch noted that the Sultanate has established diplomatic ties with 37 nations since independence, and obtained membership into regional and international organisations, such as ASEAN, the UN, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Commonwealth.

His Majesty then extended gratitude to all parties involved in ensuring that the 40th National Day celebration tomorrow will be a memorable one and prayed that the nation and its people will always be blessed and guided by Allah the Almighty. – Azlan Othman

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