Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Brunei Darussalam: Boosting Connections

The Oxford Business Group reported the following update on Brunei on 25th August 2014:

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Economic Update
Boosting connections in Brunei Darussalam 

Brunei Darussalam | 25 Aug 2014

In the run-up to ASEAN Economic Community integration in 2015, Brunei Darussalam is ramping up transport developments, chasing new opportunities and re-establishing past connections. With the potential for a boost in inter-ASEAN travel, the Sultanate is working to position itself as an intermediary for business and leisure travellers.

Isolated by the sea, Brunei Darussalam is cut off from access to both the Trans-Asian Railway and the ASEAN Highway Networks, which is spurring the authorities to improve air and maritime connectivity, externally, while expanding internal road connections. In its “Global Competitiveness Report 2013-14”, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Brunei Darussalam 49th out of 148 countries for the standard of its seaports, jumping eight places year-on-year, and 55th in terms of the competitiveness of its air services infrastructure, an improvement of 6 places.

Taking off

Most recently, Royal Brunei Airlines announced it would reinstate its route to Ho Chi Minh City. The route, which was cut in October 2011, has regained importance as passenger numbers to Vietnam jumped 15% in 2013. The airline announced in August it plans to run four round-trip flights a week starting in October.

The move is one of several efforts to increase air traffic with regional partners. Royal Brunei announced its order of seven A320neo aircraft in mid-August, due for delivery in 2018, saying that the planes were specifically intended to reduce fuel costs and serve potential new routes to Australia. According to the airline, the A320neo uses 17% less fuel than the A320s currently in use, and with Brisbane, Perth and Darwin just a few hours’ flying time away, the company is confident demand will rise.

With the increased passenger numbers, extensions to the Brunei International Airport are seeing timely completion. The $150m upgrade process, which is expected to finish later this year, is set to double passenger handling capacity at the airport to 3m and will include new arrival and departure areas, luggage handling facilities and expanded parking.

Maritime improvements

Developments are ongoing to improve road and maritime transport as well, spurred on by the country’s development plan, Vision 2035. The plan focuses on public-private partnerships and foreign investors.

Several projects are now under way. The 2.7-km Pulau Muara Besar Bridge seeks to improve connectivity between the manufacturing centre and the Sultanate’s mainland while the Temburong Bridge will connect that island to the rest of the country. The 607-metre Sungai Brunei, being built with the help of South Korea’s Daelim Industrial, will bridge Jalan Residency in Bandas and Kg Sungai Kebun in Lumapas. The bridges will better integrate the sultanate’s 3030-km road network, with the combined effects of both easing traffic and improving industrial transport to the ports.

The expansion of the main deepwater seaport or the container terminal at Muara is on track to be tendered in the current quarter. In 2001, the terminal handled approximately 60,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers – none of which were trans-shipment boxes. The increased capacity will allow for larger container ships, raising the port’s cargo handling capacity to more than 100,000 TEUs, of which close to 30% is expected to be trans-shipping traffic.

Port authorities also announced an upcoming tender for a project in late 2013, saying it would involve an extension of a 150-200-metre container-wharf at the terminal. The extended container terminal will enable both greater storage capacity at the site as well as improved transfer times to and from trucks.

While improved air and sea transport infrastructure will enable the Sultanate to remain an essential hub for the region, it will also help Brunei Darussalam to overcome its main challenge, which remains the diversification of its economy from oil and gas exports. Greater connectivity with the region will help the economic expansion process, particularly by encouraging multilateral trade and cooperation, and tourism.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hari Raya at Prime Minister's Office 2014




BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN


Saturday, August 23, 2014


DESPITE Syawal coming to an end, Hari Raya Aidilfitri gatherings continue to enliven the festive mood across the country.

Among the celebrations held yesterday was a Ramah Mesra (meet and greet) at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), attended by the Second Minister of Finance Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Haji Abdul Rahman Hj Ibrahim and spouse.

Present at the event were Deputy Ministers at the PMO Dato Paduka Haji Abd Wahab Juned and Dato Paduka Haji Ali Hj Apong along with other senior officials and members of the PMO and families.

Entertaining the crowd at the PMO event was a 'Masterchef’ competition and a sketch and tausyehperformances.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sultan's 68th Birthday Speech

On 14th August 2014, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam delivered his titah (speech) on the occasion of his 68th birthday celebrations:


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Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem.

Alhamdulillahi Rabbil ‘Alameen, Wabihiee Nasta’eenu ‘Alaa Umuuriddunya Wadden, Wassalaatu’ Wassalaamu ‘Ala Asyarafil Mursaleen, Sayyidina Muhammaddin, Wa’alaa Aalihee Wasahbihee Ajma’een, Waba’du.

Alhamdulillah, Beta bersyukur kehadhrat Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala, kerana dengan limpah kurniaNya jua, dapatlah kita meraikan Hari Keputeraan Beta pada tahun ini, dalam suasana aman dan sejahtera.

Terlebih dahulu, Beta dengan tulus ikhlas ingin merakamkan ucapan terima kasih dan penghargaan kepada tetamu-tetamu khas Beta, yang sudi hadhir ke istiadat ini, dan juga kepada semua pihak yang telah menyembahkan perutusan ucap selamat kepada Beta serta keluarga, besempena dengan perayaan ini.

Sekali lagi pada tahun ini, istiadat perayaan diadakan selepas umat Islam di negara ini selesai menyempurnakan ibadat puasa Ramadhan dan menyambut Hari Raya ‘Idil Fitri.

Alhamdulillah, dengan menyedari akan keberkatan berpegang teguh kepada ugama, maka kita telah dapat meneruskan lagi kehidupan ini dengan penuh selesa serta dengan rancak dapat membangun di bidang-bidang yang diperlukan.

Beta sangat meyakini akan faktor “keberkatan” itu, yang menjadikan Negara Brunei dapat berkembang dengan baik. Di bidang ekonomi, penumpuan sedang diberikan kepada, mempelbagai dan menaikkan lagi kadar pertumbuhan ekonomi. Ini, termasuklah antara lain, dengan memudahkan kemasukan Pelaburan Langsung Asing dalam pelbagai sektor, memajukan sektor swasta, memperkasa Perusahaan Kecil dan Sederhana, meningkatkan produktiviti dan mewujudkan iklim pro-busisness.

Dalam usaha mempelbagaikan ekonomi, Beta sangat gembira mengetahui adanya inisiatif untuk menarik Foreign Direct Investment, FDI yang berkualiti ke negara ini, yang sudahpun menampakkan tanda-tanda pencapaian awalnya yang positif.

Di sektor minyak dan gas pula, Pulau Muara Besar kini telahpun mula dimajukan bagi penyediaan tapak projek pembinaan kilang penapisan minyak bersepadu atau “integrated oil refinery” dan industri-industri berkaitan yang menjanjikan banyak peluang pekerjaan.

Sementara itu, sebuah kilang pembuatan ubat atau “pharmaceutical manufacturing plant”, yang bertaraf dunia telahpun siap dibina dan kini sudah mula beroperasi.

Selain itu, sebuah syarikat terkemuka antarabangsa dibidang ‘simulation training’ juga, telah membina Multi-Purpose Training Centrenya di Brunei Darussalam, sebagai pusat latihan utamanya di rantau ini. Ia juga sudah mula beroperasi.

Bio Innovation Corridor (BIC), seluas 500 hektar untuk menarik pelaburan dalam Penyelidikan dan Pembangunan, R&D, pembuatan dan komersil, adalah merupakan satu lagi sektor berpotensi untuk memantapkan lagi ekonomi serta mampu bagi membuka peluang-peluang pekerjaan secara lebih meluas.

Dalam ekonomi, objektif negara ialah untuk menjadi sebuah ‘kuasa ekonomi’ yang dinamik, yang mampu untuk menduduki tempat ke sepuluh teratas di dunia dari segi pendapatan per kapita.

Ini bererti, kita adalah dikehendaki untuk meningkatkan pendapatan negara ke tahap B$80 bilion ringgit menjelang tahun 2035, berbanding hanya B$20 bilion ringgit sahaja ketika ini. Ini juga turut merujuk kepada ekonomi negara supaya ia dapat tumbuh sekitar 5 ke 6% setahun.

Oleh yang demikian, Beta berharap supaya semua pihak, sama ada kerajaan mahupun swasta, akan dapat melipatgandakan usaha masing-masing untuk mencapai sasaran ini.

Khusus mengenai peluang pekerjaan pula, mengikut Banci Awal Majikan dan Pekerja 2013, dari seramai 140,000 tenaga kerja di dalam kira-kira 10,000 buah syarikat yang aktif, kira-kira 65% adalah terdiri daripada pekerja asing. Maka sehubungan ini, dengan mengambilkira kadar pengangguran yang ada, kita adalah wajar untuk mempunyai satu dasar pengisian pekerjaan yang seimbang.

Alhamdulillah, sejauh ini kita sudah dapat memenuhi sebahagian dari sasaran untuk mengurangkan pengangguran. Di sektor minyak dan gas sahaja misalnya, sasaran sehingga 2014 untuk memberikan 3,000 peluang pekerjaan kepada anak-anak tempatan telahpun hampir tercapai.

Namun begitu, kita juga tidak boleh lepas pandang terhadap peluang-peluang pekerjaan di sektor bukan minyak dan gas. Kearah ini, Kerajaan Beta telah memperkenalkan satu dasar baru untuk dilaksanakan secara berperingkat. Dasar itu pada asasnya adalah bertujuan untuk menseimbangkan di antara pengambilan pekerja tempatan dan pekerja asing, melalui kaedah-kaedah pengawalan tertentu.

Di bidang pendidikan, Kerajaan Beta sangatlah prihatin terhadap semua sektor pendidikan bagi memenuhi keperluan sosio-ekonomi dan kesejahteraan di negara ini.

Di antara langkah yang telah dibuat ialah, menyediakan satu skim, yang dipanggil Skim Perkhidmatan Tenaga Akademik Institusi Pengajian Tinggi Awam, bagi tujuan untuk menarik minat sumber tenaga manusia dari kalangan tenaga akademik yang berkualiti dan bertaraf dunia.

Beta juga telah memperkenalkan satu Perintah Penubuhan Institut Pendidikan Teknikal Brunei selaku peneraju kepada kemajuan pendidikan teknikal dan vokasional.

Ini penting, bagi melahirkan golongan berpendidikan mahir lagi marketable sebagai persiapan kita menghadapi cabaran-cabaran ekonomi yang bersifat global yang berteraskan knowledge-based.

Satu langkah untuk memberikan peluang kepada pelajar-pelajar yang tidak mampu memenuhi syarat menerima biasiswa, supaya mereka itu dapat melanjutkan pengajian di institusi-institusi pengajian tinggi tempatan atau luar negara, maka Beta juga telah memperkenankan satu Skim Kemudahan Pinjaman Pendidikan. Skim ini akan memberikan kemudahan pinjaman kewangan yang ‘affordable’ kepada pelajar-pelajar berkenaan bagi menampung kos pengajian dan sara hidup mereka.

Untuk mengatasi kelemahan-kelemahan tertentu, khasnya bagi mata-mata pelajaran Bahasa Inggeris dan Matematik, Beta juga telah memperkenankan satu peruntukan tambahan berjumlah $270 juta ringgit untuk tempoh selama tiga tahun, bagi menampung kos mendatangkan tenaga pengajar daripada luar negara bagi mengajar mata-mata pelajaran berkenaan.

Di bidang infrastruktur perhubungan pula, Pelan Induk Pengangkutan Darat telahpun siap disediakan. Selain menyediakan jaringan perkhidmatan jalan raya yang effisien, pelan ini juga mengandungi ‘blueprint’ kemajuan ekonomi di bawah sektor ini.

Projek meningkatkan infrastruktur pelabuhan dan memodenisasikan lapangan terbang yang sedang berjalan pada masa ini, akan membuka luas pengkomersilan perkhidmatan-perkhidmatan di bawahnya, bagi menjana lebih banyak lagi peluang perniagaan dan pekerjaan.

Di bidang kesejahteraan, perhatian adalah terus diberikan untuk menangani jenayah. Dalam hal ini, Beta ingin mengingatkan mengenai ancaman siber yang berbahaya terutama kepada kanak-kanak.

Kementerian Perhubungan adalah sedang giat merangka kerja-kerja untuk “Child Online Protection” bagi melindungi kanak-kanak yang menggunakan internet, daripada terdedah kepada pengaruh-pengaruh negatif dan ancaman cybercrime.

Mengenai Program Khidmat Bakti Negara (PKBN), in sha Allah, tidak lama lagi ia akan mempunyai fasiliti Khemahnya sendiri di Daerah Temburong, Satu struktur organisasi baru untuknya telahpun Beta perkenankan bagi memperkasakan lagi program ini.

Untuk memantapkan segala agenda pembangunan, Beta telah memperkenankan penubuhan Majlis Wawasan 2035 yang akan bekerjasama rapat dengan Jawatankuasa Tertinggi Rancangan Kemajuan Negara dan Unit PENGGERAK di Jabatan Perdana Menteri. Peranan utama Majlis ini ialah untuk membantu secara intensif dan sistematik perlaksanaan usaha-usaha agensi-agensi Kerajaan Beta dalam merealisasikan hasil pencapaian objektif-objektif Wawasan 2035.

Di arena antarabangsa, negara kita akan terus mengekalkan dasar berbaik-baik dengan saling hormat menghormati dengan negara-negara sahabat, disamping mengukuhkan kerjasama di pelbagai bidang dan peringkat, bagi keamanan dan kesejahteraan bersama.

Menyebut perkara keamanan dan kesejahteraan ini, Negara Brunei Darussalam adalah sangat bersimpati terhadap rakyat dan Negara Palestin yang sedang diragut keamanan dan kesejahteraan mereka oleh musuh yang tidak berperikemanusiaan. Musuh ini begitu tergamak membunuh kanak-kanak, kaum perempuan, orang tua dan lain-lain warga awam yang tidak berdosa. Mereka juga memusnahkan bangunan, tempat kediaman dan tidak terkecuali rumah ibadat dan sekolah, tanpa mengambilkira, jenayah ini dilakukan dalam bulan suci Ramadhan, dimana orang-orang Islam sedang melaksanakan ibadat berpuasa.

Akhirnya, Beta dengan tulus ikhlas merakamkan setinggi-tinggi penghargaan dan ucapan terima kasih kepada seluruh lapisan rakyat dan penduduk, warga Perkhidmatan Awam, Pasukan-Pasukan Keselamatan serta mereka yang berkhidmat di sektor swasta, termasuk mereka yang bertugas di luar negara, di atas sumbangan dan sokongan mereka kepada Kerajaan Beta.

Penghargaan yang setinggi-tingginya juga disampaikan kepada seluruh Ahli Jawatankuasa Perayaan di kedua peringkat kebangsaan dan daerah, atas segala khidmat usaha untuk menjayakan Perayaan ini.

Beta berdo’a semoga kita semua serta Negara Brunei Darussalam akan senantiasa kekal aman dan makmur, dikurniakan dengan limpah rahmat dan perlindungan oleh Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala. Amin.Sekian, Wabillahit Taufeq Walhidayah, Wassalamu ‘Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Brunei Darussalam: Investing in Innovation


The Oxford Business Group reported on 13 August 2014 the following update on Brunei:


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Economic Update
Investing in innovation in Brunei Darussalam 

Brunei Darussalam | 13 Aug 2014

Brunei Darussalam has lost ground in its efforts to promote innovation as a cornerstone for future economic and social development, slipping down the ladder of a comparative survey of innovative practices for the second year running, but the sultanate is positioning itself to rebound strongly in the years to come.

In its latest Global Innovation Index (GII), released in mid July, the Institut EuropĂ©en d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD) ranked Brunei Darussalam 88th out of 143 countries assessed, a drop of 14 places on its 2013 performance. Much of this retreat was due to sharp falls in the Innovation Output Sub-Index – the measure of innovative activities within the economy – and the Innovation Efficiency Ratio, which measures input against output, or how much value a country gets from the effort and investment it makes.

In the 2014 GII, the sultanate saw its standing on the output sub-index fall 35 places to 124 compared to the previous year, while its efficiency ratio dropped from 119 to 139. This was despite the fact that its Innovation Input Sub-Index remained steady, easing just one rung to 55 on the ladder.

The 2014 result is a turnaround from just two years ago. In its 2012 report, INSEAD found that Brunei Darussalam had made exceptional progress, climbing 24 rungs up the innovation ladder to 53rd place, a result it said could be attributed to the fact that, “marginal improvements in one or two domains or strengths revealed by data recently made available or by adjustments to the GII framework can have a significant impact on rankings”.

Since then, the country has fallen 35 places, although at least some of this decline has to do with the increased momentum many other countries have found in their drive to promote innovation.

The study said that, relative to its GDP and as a high-income country, Brunei Darussalam was an underperformer and was not living up to its true potential as an innovative nation. The wide gap in the efficiency ratio suggests that, while the country is continuing to make investments in innovation, it has yet to reap the full advantage of this financial and intellectual commitment.

Readying to rebound

It is likely that Brunei Darussalam will see its global innovation rating rebound in the next few years as it will soon have institutions and support services in place that will lay the groundwork for improvements that will be more than just marginal.

Brunei Darussalam has long identified research and development, along with investment in technology and training, as a means to support innovation, a policy underscored in late April by Dato Ali Apong, the deputy minister at the Prime Minister’s Office. Addressing a conference on innovation and commercialisation, the minister said a climate conducive to developing a knowledge-based society had to be fostered.

“It is our collective responsibility to promote innovation and a productive innovation ecosystem for Brunei,” he said. “Once a critical success level has been achieved, investment will attract further investments, talent will attract further talent, and innovation will ultimately generate more innovation.”

That ecosystem will be bolstered later this year with the opening of the $20m Anggerek Desa Technology Park, the third pillar of a project led by the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) to build avenues for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The technology park will complement the already operational iCentre and Knowledge Hub, which are dedicated ICT incubation and technology-based research and development centres and which will expand research capacity, including in fields such as multi-media, climate, simulation and defence modelling.

Other examples include the MiSC, the Ministry of Education’s Media and In-Service Centre, a digital learning hub, and the Bio-Innovation Corridor, formerly known as the Brunei Agro-Technology Park, both of which are aimed at attracting investment.

Finding a niche

While Brunei Darussalam is stepping up investments to support innovation, it is by no means in the top league of innovative countries in the region. Singapore consistently rates in the top 10 globally in the GII survey, and has a strong tradition of research and development, while other economies such as Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaysia all placed above the sultanate. This suggests the country will face stiff competition for innovative investment, although it is seeking to parlay certain cultural and natural strengths to its advantage.

One arm of innovation policy is to focus on projects that support halal industries and bio-industry, a logical move given the country’s Islamic heritage and the huge diversity of its natural resources. Adopting a targeted approach is likely to pay dividends, potentially making the country a leader in niche markets.

While it may take time for the full impact of new innovation hubs and investments to be felt, they will help lay a solid base from which Brunei Darussalam can better achieve its innovative potential.

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Saturday, August 02, 2014

Eid Celebrations in Brunei: 96,550 Visitors to Nurul Iman Palace


His Majesty The Sultan of Brunei and the Her Majesty with members of the Royal Family greeted visitors to Nurul Iman Palace for the three days 'open house' for Eid Celebrations at the Palace

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Istana Nurul Iman recorded ninety six thousand five hundred and fifty five visitors during its three-day run for the Aidilfitri ‘Open House’ that came to a conclusion yesterday. The people of the Sultanate as well as from neighbouring countries seized the opportunity to meet and greet His Majesty the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mui’zzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and the Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha and members of the Royal Family.

During the inaugural Open Palace, Istana Nurul Iman registered a total of thirty six thousand seven hundred and ten visitors. The second day however shown a slight decrease in attendance with thirty five thousand nine hundred and twenty visitors came to the Open Palace. The third and final day also marks the steady decline in a number of visitors; with only twenty three thousand five hundred fifty-five well-wishers visited the Istana.

The morning session saw a total of twelve thousand eight hundred and fifty five well-wishers from all walks of life visited Istana Nurul Iman for the special Aidilfitri audience and Greetings ceremony to meet and greet the Monarch and Her Majesty Raja Isteri and members of the Royal Family.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to receive in audience the male well-wishers. Also present were His Majesty's princes and brother, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malek, His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Mateen and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Wakeel as well as other members of the Royal Household.

Visitors who came to the Istana in the morning included senior citizens, converts from throughout the country, private sector employees, special needs persons, youths and children. People from all walk-of-life, the young and old, the poor and the rich were at the Istana to meet Their Majesties in person and convey festive greetings.Istana Nurul Iman is synonym with Hari Raya not just among the people of Brunei, but also among the expatriate community working here and the international tourists who are in the country during the celebrations.

This is the uniqueness of Brunei Darussalam in celebrating the Aidilfitri. The festivities in the Abode of Peace reflect a peaceful and prosperous nation, ruled by a loving, caring and just Monarch. The festivities also continue to adhere to the country's pure customs, traditions and values.

All the well wishers had the opportunity to meet and greet the Monarch in person, in a cordial and harmonious atmosphere. The cordiality between the ruler and the people clearly showed a strong bond, especially when the rakyat and residents thronged into the Istana only for the opportunity to greet His Majesty and convey Hari Raya greetings.

At another part of the Istana, Her Majesty the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha consented to receive in audience the female well-wishers. With Her Majesty were Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab-Rahaman, Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al Islam. Also present were Their Majesties grandchildren.Istana Nurul Iman was opened for three days in a row to give the public the opportunity to convey Hari Raya greetings to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty the Raja Isteri as well as other members of the Royal family.

Visiting Istana Nurul Iman for the audience and the Junjung Ziarah or greetings to His Majesty and Her Majesty the Raja Isteri during the Aidilfitri festivities is a long existing tradition that has cemented the bond of love between the ruler and the people.

The opportunity to interact in a close and cordial manner with His Majesty and the Royal Household was a great gift for the country's rakyat and residents whose great blessings from Allah the Almighty is a loving, caring and concerned Monarch who gives top priority to the people's interests, well-being and prosperity.

Meanwhile in the afternoon, eleven thousand and seventy well-wishers visited Istana Nurul Iman for the audience and junjung ziarah in conjunction with Aidilfitri, conveying their greetings to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty the Raja Isteri and members of the Royal Family.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to receive in audience and the junjung ziarah from the male well-wishers. Also present were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik; His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Mateen and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Wakeel and other members of the Royal Family.

The visit to Istana Nurul Iman is something much waited for by people in Brunei Darussalam, especially the opportunity to convey Hari Raya Aidilfitri greetings to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and her Majesty the Raja Isteri and members of the Royal Household. The well-wishers were not multi-racial but also from different age groups, from children to senior citizens, and not forgetting foreign tourists.

Receiving guests at the Istana was evidence of His Majesty's love and concern for the people and the people's love for their Monarch. Such an encounter would become a lasting beautiful memory for all the visitors.

At another part of Istana Nurul Iman, female well-wishers also had the opportunity to convey Hari Raya greetings to Her Majesty the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha. Also present were Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah; Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah; Yang amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Norhayati; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess 'Azemah Ni'matul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Amal Umi Khalthum Al-Islam. Also in attendance were Their Majesties grandchildren.

The joy and excitement of Hari Raya celebration was felt not only by the people of this oil-rich Sultanate and residents, but also by well-wishers from abroad. Although the Istana was only opened for three days, the presence of the visitors in such large numbers reflected the atmosphere. The story about the happiness and excitement of the Monarch and people sharing Hari Raya joy is a reality rarely seen in other countries. 

©BRUDIRECT.COM

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