29th September, 2009, Brunei Darussalam's 1959 Written Constitution is 50 years old. The Brunei Written Constitution and Brunei Agreement was signed on 29th of September 1959 between Brunei Government and the British Government at the Lapau Building, in Bandar Brunei. Through the declaration, the status of the country has been glorified in the international arena and Brunei developed in all areas including programmes towards the excellence of the race and nation.
Almarhum Sultan Haji 'Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien is the person who played important roles in the realization of the existence of constitution and to clear a way towards Independent Brunei. The late monarch declared plan to set up Written Constitution for Brunei in early May 1953. Al-Marhum stated his desire and ambition in his own Syair Perlembagaan. In line with the decision of the Legislative Council Meeting on the 10th April 1953, a seven-member committee was appointed and assigned to villages in all districts to seek the opinion of the villagers on the plan. The committee also visited several countries in Malay States Federation in January 1954 to review the constition system in those countries. The draft of the constitution was later arranged and in 1957, Al-Marhum went to England with a delegation for an informal talks.
Brunei's Written Constitution was signed by Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien on behalf of Brunei Government while the British General Commissioner for Southeast Asia, His Excellency Sir Robert Scott, signed for the British Government.
Efforts to implement the constitution were geared up since early 1959. On March 14,1959, Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien led a delegation to London to discuss the establishment of Brunei's Written Constitution. The outcome of the talks, almost all suggestion were approved. The manuscripts of the constitution was signed by the late monarch for Brunei Government and British Government was represented by State Secretary, Lord Allen Lennox Boyd.
Since 1959 until 1970s, Brunei's Written Constitution has brought many changes for the country according to the needs of the nation's constitution and religion. As the result of the amendment of 1959 Constitution, on November 23, 1971 at the Lapau a government was declared with full responsibility on the home affairs and the government of Her Majesty the Queen was no longer intervene in the administration of internal affairs.
The constitution has undergone a wider transitition following the signing of an agreement on the 3rd of January 1979, at the Lapau. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mui'izzaddin Waddaulah Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, signed the cooperation agreement between Brunei Darussalam and the government of Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain. Representing the British Government was the Right Honourable Lord Growney, the State Minister of Britain for Foreign Affairs. With the signing of the agreement, all administration aspects in and abroad were conducted by Brunei citizens as a fully independent race and nation.
In line with the needs and changes of the era as well as continuous efforts to realise the aim of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzadien Waddaulah Sultan and Yang Di-pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to form the more formal legislation structure, re-examination was carreid out on the 1959 Constitution and several changes were made on the constitution. The amendment was signed and declared by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on 29th September, 2004 at Lapau, Bandar Seri Begawan.
-- Courtesy Balai Berita RTB --