James Kon, Izah Azahari & Fadley Faisal
The people of Brunei Darussalam celebrated the Sultanate’s 37th National Day in the capital yesterday with a small-scale celebration that saw no more than 3,000 participants.
The smaller number due to ongoing efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic did not dampen the spirit of patriotism.
Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Captain Haji Khalidkhan bin Haji Asmakhan said despite the current pandemic situation, it is a great blessing to be in Brunei Darussalam.
“This year’s celebration is on a smaller scale compared to previous years and RB is represented in ‘The Private Sectors’ as well as ‘Frontliners’ groupings which include our Wu Han Rescue Flight Team,” he said. “On behalf of Team RB, we would like to wish 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, the Brunei Government and citizens of Brunei a prosperous National Day.”
Meanwhile, Progresif Sdn Bhd CEO Hajah Nurul Haniah binti Haji Md Jaafar said this year is quite a different affair as it is quite small-scale, but is nonetheless proud and happy to be able to celebrate National Day this year.
“I think that the theme this year Menjayakan Wawasan Negara is true to our call. We should rally together as one nation for His Majesty’s call to accomplish the Brunei Vision,” she said. “It has been a challenging year, but Progresif sees it as a year full of hope and progress as well as a time to achieve what we can in terms of supporting the nation and realising the Smart Nation and Digital Society aspirations.”
Hajah Nurul Haniah added that Progresif also hopes to ensure that the country is living a more connected or digital life while making sure that there is support for one another in terms of resources, ensuring the continuation of skilled workforce generation, which Progresif will be focussing on this year, as well as better experience for customers.
imagine Sdn Bhd CEO Suzanna binti Haji Suharju said, “We are very proud to be able to participate this year, because it is such a small group. We are honoured to be chosen to represent not just the company, but also our group of companies under Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd (DA).”
She highlighted that this year’s theme is a representation of togetherness and is also part and parcel of what imagine does in the telecommunication industry. “We play a part in ensuring that we fulfil the Brunei Vision of a Smart Nation, and if not for anything, to celebrate together. We are proud Bruneians,” Suzanna said.
Datastream Digital Sdn Bhd (DST) CEO Radin Sufri bin Radin Basiuni said it is good to be back in the capital to celebrate the National Day.
“I am always excited to be part of the National Day celebration. Although it is a smaller celebration, I can feel the spirit of patriotism and enthusiasm,” he said. “We are committed to supporting Brunei Vision by doing our part to make the country’s telecom sector more vibrant and innovative, benefitting everyone and contributing to Smart Nation building.”
Baiduri Bank CEO Ti Eng Hui said Baiduri Bank is proud to take part in the National Day celebration this year. “It is lovely to see so many people here and the atmosphere so fantastic. This year we are restricted to 10 people per company, so we have 10 staff members on station today as well as the senior management team,” he said.
Soon Seng Lee, who led a group of 16 Chinese community representatives, said, “We are happy the nation can still celebrate in the new normal. Although the country has halted the spread of COVID-19, cases in neighbouring countries are still high. We must continue to comply with the directives issued by the Government of His Majesty.”
Persatuan Warganegara Malaysia President James Lee said, “We are taking part in this year’s parade with Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Each contingent is fielding 20 participants. For Malaysia, our theme is unity.
“We wish Brunei Darussalam continued prosperity and peace. We also would like to convey our appreciation to the Government of His Majesty for ensuring a peaceful environment to live and carry out our business in the country. In terms of COVID-19, we cannot be complacent and must follow the instructions from the MoH.”
On behalf of Fire and Rescue cadets, Mohd Waseem bin Mohd Rizal from Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) said, “This year, we only have 20 Fire and Rescue cadets from UNISSA, Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan (KUPU SB) and Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam Secondary School participating.
“We are honoured to participate in this year’s parade because it is an extraordinary time due to the pandemic. Not everyone can take part like in previous years.”
His National Day message for the nation was: “Even though this year we are celebrating National Day in a new norm, we must continue to be in high spirits and come together to celebrate the country’s National Day.”
Youth frontliners Cynthia, Najwa, Syazwani and Nazri said this year’s parade is quite challenging due to the standard operation procedures. Cynthia said, “We are blessed to have citizens working together in the fight against the pandemic.”
Brunei Intellectual Property Office (BruIPO) Assistant Executive Officer Ain Ja’afar said Brunei Vision 2035 is to sustain and improve Brunei’s economy and standard of living.
As a local youth, her perspective on the vision is to have religious, well educated, positive, proactive, independent, mature, adventurous, risk taking and supportive youth that work to improve the attitude new generation and Brunei Darussalam as a whole.
“Team work and trust play important roles,” Ain said.