| Dr Muhammad Hadi bin Muhammad Melayong, Senior Special Duties Officer, Secretariat Office, MIB Supreme Council |
“ALLAHU Akhbar, Allahu Akhbar, Allahu Akhbar,” the chants of the people led by Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam reverberated three times across the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien in Bandar Seri Begawan, as the clock struck midnight on January 1, 1984.
The cry of “Allah is the Greatest” is an expression of gratitude and syukur for the blessings given by Allah the Almighty in helping Brunei claim her independence.
The celebrations for Brunei’s independence was initiated by 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, as a country stood by her philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB); upon the teachings of Islam according to Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah and based upon the principle of liberty, trust and justice and ever seeking with the guidance and blessings of Allah the Almighty.
For 35 years, we have celebrated our National Day on February 23. As patriots who devote ourselves to Islam, the country and our beloved Sultan, we owe it to ourselves to raise the national spirit and strengthen our faiths towards our religion and our leader. With the leadership of our Sultan and his loyal faithful followers, they have reclaimed our beloved country Brunei from the hands of the British Empire after 70 years under their administration.
With Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien’s knowledge in politics, Brunei was returned to her rightful heir through the signing of the Friendship Agreement 1971 and 1979 with the British Government. This is the freedom granted with the blessings of Allah the Almighty to the people of Brunei, the Land of Zikir – Baldatun Tayyibatun Warabbun Ghafur’.
With the country achieving her independence, the next phase of action will need the subjects of His Majesty to be the drivers towards the national vision. With Vision 2035 as our direction, we define our responsibility as ensuring that vision can be attained.
As we walk on the peaceful land of Brunei, we are entrusted to carry on and extend His Majesty’s wishes which were entrusted upon us, that is to practise and protect our national philosophy which has helped shape Brunei, to ensure its continuation and to carry on the legacy of our forefathers.
This is not limited to just those currently in Brunei, but also extends to those who set foot in other countries, be they students, in services or fellow travellers; wherever you may go, you as an individual represent Brunei and inadvertently represent Brunei which is known as the MIB. This is one of the visions that His Majesty has shared with his royal subjects.
He ensured that we should never ever feel threatened or isolated as a result of criticism coming from the outside. His Majesty believes that his subjects will lead us towards the blessings of Allah the Almighty, as stated by His Majesty during celebrations for his 66th birthday on July 15, 2012:
“Kewajipan ini adalah kewajipan kita semua. Kita mesti mengamalkan nilai-nilai murni dan memelihara jati diri kita, dengan calak MIB.
“Kita adalah bangsa yang membangun dengan undang-undang, pendidikan dan akhlak yang baik, serta bergerak maju di atas landasan ajaran ugama yang suci. Kita menawarkan persahabatan kepada semua warga dunia, sambil memberitahu, bahawa kita juga adalah rakan yang baik, yang senantiasa bersedia menghormati sesiapa sahaja.
“Demikian itulah pula, kita mengharapkan, agar rakan-rakan juga berpendirian seperti kita dalam menilai dan memahami aspirasi masing-masing, demi untuk keselamatan dan kesejahteraan, sekalipun tanggapan kita adalah berbeza.”
We ought to learn to appreciate our history and immerse ourselves in the struggle faced by our past patriots who had helped Brunei claim her independence. We should spend a little time to sit down and chat with our grandfathers and listen to their stories, understand their contributions and appreciate the things they had done for the sake of their families and the country.
They were part of the generation that has exerted endless efforts to ensure that their future generations – us – are able to live in a safe and peaceful nation since 1984.
As we inherit their legacy, we have a choice to carry on their torch to light up the path towards the proclamation of independence that was recited by His Majesty during the country’s 33rd National Day celebration in 2017:
“Seyogia diingat, bahawa kemerdekaan adalah sebahagian dari sejarah bangsa, dan malah merupakan ‘mahkota’ bangsa. Mencuaikan kemerdekaan bermakna mencuaikan sejarah, serta sekali gus ‘menyambaranakan’ mahkota bangsa.”
To show the aspirations of the 35th National Day whisper, a strong faith and belief will be the key for everyone to understand the meaning behind Brunei’s National Day.
We stand firm to face the heat in the sun, marching towards the Taman holding our national flags and wearing uniforms saluting His Majesty in a mark of patriotism and loyalty, showing us the tip of the iceberg of what our forefathers had to go through; carrying the national flag, wielding pedang, parang and rifles to ensure that Brunei achieved her independence.
But the most powerful weapon of all is one that has been embedded in us right from the beginning, a weapon that we’ve utilised to preserve our sovereignty and to protect ourselves from negative influences: our guide, our belief and our philosophy, the Malay Islamic Monarchy – a defensive wall that has helped Brunei face challenges as stated by His Majesty on the country’s 30th National Day:
“Kerana itu cara kita mengisi kemerdekaan ini sangatlah istimewa. Kita tidak lupa bersyukur dan berzikir kepada Allah dengan cara sembahyang berjama’ah dan sama-sama mengaminkan do’a. Inilah amalan Negara Melayu Islam Beraja, negara kita.
“Atas landasan unik inilah kita terus berusaha memantapkan jati diri kita selaku orang Brunei. Perkara ini sangatlah kritikal bagi kelangsungan hidup kita dan proses ‘nation building’.
“Malahan pada hemat beta MIB adalah merupakan satu-satunya pendinding atau ‘Firewall’ yang kukuh lagi berkesan untuk menangani pelbagai isu dan cabaran globalisasi.”