| Aziz Idris |
THE presence of 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 Belait for the annual get-together, portrays the ruler’s undivided attention and affection towards his subjects.
Leaders in the oil and gas sector from the district said that His Majesty consenting to grace events in the Belait District was something that is revered and treasured by the community.
Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) Dr Ceri Powell, speaking on behalf of the management, expressed her deep privilege to be part of the joyous celebration.
She said it was a great honour to personally convey her best wishes and congratulations to His Majesty on the occasion of the ruler’s 73rd birthday.
“BSP is very much part of the community in Belait, as we celebrate the 90 years anniversary, marking 90 years of innovation and developing Bruneian talents,” she said.
Dr Powell also noted that all members of BSP, Brunei Shell Marketing Company Sdn Bhd (BSM) and Brunei Gas Carriers Sdn Bhd (BGC) were present to meet His Majesty.
Meanwhile, Acting Managing Director and CEO of Brunei LNG Haji Mohd Jaafar bin Haji Awang Bakar lauded His Majesty for leading Brunei into a developed country which is stable and prosperous.
“On behalf of Brunei LNG, we wish His Majesty a happy and prosperous birthday. We wish His Majesty prosperity and happiness, Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik.”
According to Haji Mohd Jaafar, His Majesty was present in 1963 to officiate the opening of the Brunei LNG plant in Lumut.
“At that time, our plant (Brunei LNG) was the biggest in the Asia Pacific. Now after 50 years, Brunei LNG is the oldest plant in the world and still going strong,” he added.
For Managing Director of BGC John Douglas Cook, this was his third year celebrating the Ramah Mesra.
“It’s a show of great effort not only by the local communities, but the government and companies that turn up to celebrate His Majesty’s birthday in the Belait District,” he said.
BGC recently became the first blue water shipping company in Brunei to be issued with a Document of Compliance by the Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam (MPABD).
“BGC would like to wish His Majesty a very happy 73rd birthday. Long live His Majesty,” he added.
Well-wishers including several members of the expat community also got the rare opportunity to shake hands with the monarch and members of the royal family while others took selfies.
A couple wearing traditional Mexican costume attracted crowds, including His Majesty during the get-together ceremony.
Faustino Santana and wife, working in the oil and gas sector, described the celebration as “very grand” and “full of colours”.
The couple also presented His Majesty with a Sombrero, a wide-brimmed hat from Mexico.
“It was an honour to represent my country in this joyous celebrations. I didn’t know what to expect of the celebrations today so I decided to come. I loved seeing the crowds gather here today… I have never seen this kind of celebration for a country’s leader,” said Federick, originally from the Netherlands, who is currently in Brunei for training.
For the first time, Tracy Wilson from New Zealand, attended the celebrations yesterday and instantly fell in love with the children’s performance and costumes. She described the performance as “absolutely beautiful.”
“My husband managed to get a close up selfie with His Majesty. I absolutely feel the love and spirit of togetherness at the celebrations,” said Tracy.
Kuala Belait was decorated with banners carrying messages of greeting and an archway at locations along the road leading to the area.
The get-together ceremony was a good opportunity for people from all walks of life to personally present their wishes to the monarch.