Tuesday, April 12, 2016

YAM Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf - Yura Halim

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 and dignitaries during prayers for the late Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahim. | PHOTOS: INFOFOTO

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 pays his last respects to Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahim.

Kg Sengkarai Tutong, 11 April 2016 - 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 paid his last respects to Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahim, who passed away peacefully at the age of 92 yesterday at his home 'Teratak Yura' in Kampong Sengkarai, Tutong.

His Majesty and other state dignitaries performed the funeral rites led by the State Mufti, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr. Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned.Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf, a former chief minister of Brunei Darussalam, passed away at 9.37am.

He was laid to rest at the Sengkarai Muslim Cemetery, Tutong.

Born on May 2, 1923, at Kampong Kandang, Tutong, he leaves behind seven sons, four daughters, 38 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren. Three other children are deceased.

The former chief minister was an accomplished writer and poet, who wrote the lyrics to the country's national anthem.

With the consent of His Majesty, he was conferred the 'Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Jaya Negara' status on January 12, 1968. On May 16 that year, he was elevated to the rank of 'Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara'.

His long list of state decorations and honorary titles include: DK (Laila Utama) in 1968; SPMB in 1963; DSND in 1960; SMB in 1958; Order of the Raising Sun (from Emperor Hirohito) in 1984; CBE in 1968; POAS in 1962; PHBS in 1970; PBLI in 2008; PJK in 1959; PKL in 1959; Pingat Perjuangan in 1963; and Pingat the country's first written constitution.

He continued to carry out his state duties faithfully. At the age of 92, his last stately post was as State Dignitary Representative of the Legislative Council.

In the private sector, he was the former deputy chairman of QAF Brunei Sendirian Berhad that owns Brunei Press Sendirian Berhad and played a leading role towards the establishment of Media Permata.

He was the last surviving member of the seven member Brunei Constitution Committee (Tujuh Serangkai) sent by Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam, the late father of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, to every Brunei Mukims during the process of constitutional reforms in Brunei.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law by the International Academy of Vancouver, in 1961, for his contributions and active involvement in public administration. He also attended Hiroshima University, in 1945.

He survived the 1945 atomic bombings in Japan; and in 2013, he was conferred with an honorary doctorate from Hiroshima University for his role in promoting peace and goodwill between Japan and Brunei Darussalam.

Shortly after Brunei's independence, the government of Japan conferred Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf with the First Class Order of the Rising Sun Award in 1985, one of the highest honours bestowed by Emperor Hirohito.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf was also a renowned figure in Brunei's literary scene. He was an avid writer under the pen name of 'Yura Halim'.

In his lifetime, he received several literary awards including the SEA Write Award, Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Education Award, Honorary Doctorate from Universiti Brunei Darussalam, and the Brunei Darussalam Religious Meritorious Service Awards.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf received his early education at the Bukit Bendera Malay School in Tutong. He trained as a teacher at the Sultan Idris Teachers College in Tanjong Malim, Perak; and furthered his studies at Hiroshima University in Japan, and at the South Devon Imperial College in Devonshire.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf took up several careers in his lifetime: teacher trainer, assistant school headmaster, assistant information officer, Information Officer, deputy state secretary, state secretary, chief minister, High Commissioner of Brunei to Malaysia, and the Brunei Ambassador to Japan.

He was a member of the Privy Council and Council of Adat Istiadat.

His grandchildren, Pengiran Yura Sukma binti Pengiran Haji Tajuddin and Dayangku Yura Seri Kamalawati binti Pengiran Syed Issa, recalled how their grandfather liked to talk of his wartime experiences, to make them understand that nothing is more precious than peace and freedom.

They also recalled that their grandfather preferred to admonish them gently as a more effective way of discipline and correction. In addition, he liked doing things on his own, without asking help from others.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf was a loyal Bruneian to the end, managing to attend the recent Legislative Council sessions as the State Dignitary Representative of the Legislative Council, despite his old age.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf was an extraordinary man of many talents. The name 'Yura', that his children and grandchildren bear, is a legacy of the remarkable life and career that he led.

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Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahim


BA Hussainmiya


The passing yesterday of Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahim signifies the end of a most important era in Brunei's history. It leaves a big void in the evolution of Brunei's national landscape.

The original composer of Brunei's national anthem, he could be described easily as Brunei's man for all seasons whose career had roots in the pre-independence Brunei and until his death while he was still holding an appointed membership in Brunei's Legislative Council.

He was a subject of several studies. A few theses and articles have been completed about his life and achievements.

In 1999, Abdul Hamid Abas wrote a book on the Pengiran titled 'PM Yusuf: Ahli Pejuang Kebangsaan Brunei' published by the Language and Literature Bureau. The article was meant to sum up very briefly his career and assess his accomplishments as a country's top statesman.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf was born on May 2, 1923 in Kampong Kandang, Tutong. After receiving early education in the vernacular, he joined his other erstwhile nationalist colleagues to be a Malay teacher and went to study in late 1930s at the Sultan Idris Teachers Training College at Tanjong Malim, Perak, Malaysia. This college, founded in 1922, became a hotbed of political awareness among the trainees mostly from rural Malaya, influenced by the radicalisation of the Indonesian nationalist movement.

The first to join SITC in 1929-30 from Brunei were Bashir bin Taha and Marsal bin Maun, a former Menteri Besar. They were followed by other nationalist stalwarts like Pehin HM Salleh, Pehin Mohamed Jamil Umar, Pengiran All Daud and others. Brunei's early political consciousness was articulated largely by these Malay educated school teachers who later actively involved themselves during the struggle to introduce the first written Constitution for Brunei and to rid the Residency Rule introduced way back in 1906.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf had represented the group of local intelligentsia and conservatives who aligned themselves with the palace unlike other political minded nationalists who wanted to establish a constitutional monarchy in Brunei. In reality, he parted ways from his political colleagues with whom he worked shoulder to shoulder in the early years to form incipient national organisations including PENA and BARIP.

Conscious of his little country's backwardness, he had remained a committed activist for the emancipation of the Sultanate from the British hegemony. His name first emerged during the formation of the BARIP or the Brunei Youth Movement which he helped to found in 1946 with people like HM Salleh. During one of his interviews with me in 1994, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf revealed it was a politically motivated organisation, albeit ostensibly meant to work for the social and political advancement of the Malays.

During the war years when Brunei came under a brief Japanese interlude since December 1941, he was chosen for a Japanese scholarship award and sent to Japan in 1944 to study at Hiroshima University of Arts and Sciences, the predecessor of Hiroshima University. He was a brilliant young man handpicked by the Japanese to be trained in their own country while other young men like Shaikh AM Azahari and Pehin Mohamed Jamil Umar were sent to study in Indonesia and Kuching respectively. Alas, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf's higher education prospects was cut short by the infamous atomic bomb attack on the city, but he survived and returned home in September 1945. In Brunei he continued his teaching career.

He was drawn close to the new Sultan to carry on a struggle to regain the Sultanate's lost sovereignty from the British rule. Thus during the 1950s, he became a close associate of the newly anointed Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien who came to the throne since June 1951. Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf, due to his astuteness and commitment to nationalist causes, became a leading member of a group of seven of the Brunei Constitution Committee, known as the Tujuh Serangkai or the seven branches whose task was to prepare an acceptable draft for the British Colonial administration to introduce the written Constitution for Brunei.

He was also a vociferous member in the Brunei State Council and was chosen to join Bruneian delegations to London for Constitutional negotiations. At times the British Colonial administration in many of their dealings with the locals had to put up with vociferous criticisms from him and two others in particular, namely Marsal bin Maun and Pengiran Mohamed Ali who came to be referred in the British documents as the Three big Ms of Brunei!

When Brunei faced a first manpower crisis due to an irate decision made by the then Malayan Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman in mid-1961 to withdraw the Malayan officers including the principal officers in order to teach Bruneians a lesson for mistreating some of their officers, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf stepped in with other Bruneians including Pengiran Ali Daud to accept government positions.

Thus, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf became the Deputy State Secretary and the first Bruneian Director of Information in 1962. He later became the State Secretary just when in 1967 Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adui Khairi Waddien ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam abdicated the throne in favour of his son, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf then rose to become a Menteri Besar or Chief Minister from 1967 until 1972 when he retired from public service. His main preoccupation since then was his business undertakings.

He also became a Bruneian High Commissioner to Malaysia, and held several positions including as an appointed Legislative Council member.

He left a legacy not just as a supreme public servant but more importantly he left his mark in the local literary scene. A gifted writer, he wrote many poems, short stories and novels. His main novelette 'Mahkota Berdarah' depicting the infamous Brunei civil war between Sultan Abdul Mubin and Sultan Muhyiddin during the 17th Century stands testimony to his literary prowess.

During his early years, he used several pen names such as Yura Halim, Sekunar Hayat, and Tunas Negara to write his literary pieces. In addition to producing the first Brunei novel, his 'Sekayu Tiga Bangsi' (1965) was the first published anthology of Brunei poetry. He was also had written widely on Brunei customs, history, and culture, and in1946 composed the words for Brunei's new national anthem 'Allah Peliharakan Sultan'. He also wrote a book titled 'Barat-Timur dan Bom Atom' about his experience during the dropping of the atomic bomb. The book was recently relaunched in Tokyo.

A few years back he was the guest speaker at the Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Memorial Lecture in which he delineated his life story and contributions to his country.

A member of Brunei's Cheteria Order, he had received several State awards and decorations of high order. He also was the first Bruneian to be conferred with an honorary doctorate from Hiroshima University recently. Two other former students at the university were earlier bestowed with honorary doctorates - Hasan Rahaya, 91, a former parliamentarian in Indonesia; and Abdul Razak, 87, who taught Japanese in Malaysia. In Brunei, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf established the Brunei Association of Japan Alumni in 1986, of which he continued as a main patron.

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