| Aziz Idris & Daniel Lim |
THOUSANDS of well-wishers turned Kuala Belait Municipal Field into an explosion of colours yesterday morning to pay tribute to 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 in conjunction with His Majesty’s 73rd birthday this year.
The oil town was the first district to host the get-together ceremony this year for the community who got the rare opportunity to shake hands with the monarch while others managed to take photographs with the Sultan and other members of the royal family.
His Majesty arrived at the helipad near the official residence of the Belait District Officer and was greeted upon arrival by Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong in his capacity as Chairman of the National Executive Committee for His Majesty’s 73rd birthday celebration and officials from the Belait District Office.
Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah.
Hundreds of students waved mini-national flags along the road leading to the Municipal Field as they welcomed His Majesty and the royal entourage.
Upon arrival at the royal dais, His Majesty was greeted with the national anthem. The field then echoed with the cheers of Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik from penghulu mukim, village heads, longhouse chiefs, heads of office branches, committee members and communities in the Belait District.
This was followed by a speech by Belait District Officer Ramlee bin Haji Jamudin.
The Belait District Officer hailed His Majesty’s visit to the district as a historical day and a valuable opportunity looked forward by citizens and various groups in the district.
The district officer, during his welcoming address on behalf of the citizens, residents and government servants in the district pledged undivided loyalty to His Majesty.
He noted that under His Majesty’s wise rule, the residents of Belait District enjoy a comfortable standard of living, benefitting from various forms of development, progress and facilities in all aspects such as social, economic, religious, health, communication, education and others, not just in the town or surrounding areas but also remote and isolated parts.
He added that the cultural performance this year gathered over 500 participants at the get-together, comprising people from all levels in the district carrying the theme Raja Berwawasan, Memperkaya Negara Progresif.
Shortly after witnessing the colourful spectacle, His Majesty and the royal entourage mingled with enthusiastic well-wishers who waited along the tents to deliver birthday greetings to the monarch.
His Majesty also viewed an exhibition featuring historical photographs of the district’s achievements in propelling the social and economic growth of Brunei in general, further demonstrating the unity of His Majesty’s subjects in the district towards building the future of his country.
The Sultan and members of the royal family then joined government officers, community leaders and other invited guests in a luncheon and received Junjung Ziarah from Belait National Committee members and invited guests, marking the end of the ceremony.
His Majesty’s presence at the get-together ceremony in Belait District yesterday portrayed the ruler’s undivided attention and affection towards his subjects while instilling the spirit of togetherness among the people and strengthening the society’s solidarity to uphold Vision 2035.