BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has granted an interview with the Sunday Bulletin to share his thoughts on His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s leadership and the country’s development in conjunction with His Majesty’s 66th birthday celebrations, reports Borneo Bulletin.
Sunday Bulletin: What does Your Royal Highness feel are the special qualities His Majesty has brought to his leadership of Brunei Darussalam and how have these shaped the country into what its today?
HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah: If we look back over the 45 years of His Majesty’s reign, we can see that the world has changed faster than ever before, especially in Southeast Asia. His Majesty has shown deep awareness of this and his leadership, above all else, has enabled our people to keep up with complex modern changes and respond very well to all the challenges they present.
Q: What are Your Royal Highness’ fondest memories of your earliest years with His Majesty?
HRH: We grew up together. We were at school and college together We trained together and worked together. There have been many single occasions of pleasure, fun and sharing life together but it is the overall feeling of brotherliness that Twill always remember
Q: As a very long serving Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, how does Your Royal Highness feel leaders all around the world see His Majesty and Brunei Darussalam?
HRH: I feel that His Majesty has earned great respect for himself and our people. It is felt in every country he visits and by every international partner we work with.
Q: What has been the greatest challenge Your Royal Highness has faced in your work as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and what are the current challenges?
HRH: The greatest challenge has been the one that any small country faces in international life. This is to be acknowledged as having a role to play and a voice worth listening to. It is what we have all tried to achieve through constructive support for the organisations and associations we belong to and by being a positive member of the international community. This is how we will continue to face current challenges.
Q: What has been Brunei Darussalam’s greatest achievement under His Majesty’s leadership?
HRH: Our greatest achievement is the modern development of our people whilst still maintaining the historical values and traditions that make us an independent nation.
Q: What changes, if any, does Your Royal Highness wish to see in Brunei over the next 10 years?
HRH: I see no need to change our current direction. In overall terms, I would like to see continued solid progress over the next 10 years in the development plans we have at home and in the ambitious programmes of Asean for economic integration and community building.
His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah has granted an interview with the Sunday Bulletin to share his thoughts on His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s leadership and development of sports in the country in conjunction With His Majesty’s 66th birthday celebrations.
SUNDAY BULLETIN: Your Royal Highness, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s golden reign continues on strongly and positively and the beloved working monarch leads by example. What aspects of His Majesty has graciously impressed Your Royal Highness the most?
HRH: What impresses me the most is His Majesty’s energy, time, focus and determination that seems to grow stronger every day I never see him slowing down in his efforts and pursuits to make Brunei Darussalam a prosperous nation, politically stable, economically strong and sustainable, and a strong religious nation, driven by a philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy. The strengthening of a political system, the rule of law and good governance, backed up by the concept of ‘Negara Zikir’, I think Brunei Darussalam under the leadership of His Majesty will achieve what we all wish for, including Brunei Darussalam’s Vision 2035.
Q: Your Royal Highness has watched His Majesty in such close quarters for a long time. If there is one gracious aspect of His Majesty that stands out the most in Your Royal Highness’ gracious view, can Your Royal Highness please graciously share with us what that is?
HRH: His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam we all know is a caring monarch or ‘Raja Berjiwa Rakyat’. Therefore to me personally ‘the Caring Monarch’ is what stands out the most and best describes who His Majesty is.
Q: Your Royal Highness’ gracious involvement and personal commitment and steadfast dedication in sports is well known. In Your Royal Highness’ gracious view, what has been Brunei Darussalam’s biggest achievement in sports? How has His Majesty been instrumental in ensuring that sports flourishes in Brunei Darussalam?
HRH: As a nation, our biggest achievement in sports thus far is our ability to maintain and sustain the spirit and popularity of sport itself, be it in Brunei Darussalam’s participation in regional and international sport events or simply for a healthy lifestyle. The involvement of the public in all walks of life is a testimony to this. Our achievement in sports may not necessarily be translated by winning medals, but the most important thing is what sports can do in order to sustain a healthy society. On this note, His Majesty’s Government, through the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, has allocated more budget and fund for sports development, including to send out athletes to participate and in the regional and international competitions. His Majesty’s Government has also invested a lot by building sports infrastructures and facilities as well as recreational parks for use by our national athletes, sports enthusiasts and members of the general public respectively. Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council, in our limited capacity will do our utmost to contribute and compliment His Majesty Government in this field.
Q: What in Your Royal Highness’ gracious view should be done for Brunei Darussalam to achieve greater laurels at the international sporting arena?
HRH: In order to achieve greater success, not only in sports for that matter, but in other areas too, we must have an excellent system in place with good planning and programmes both short- and long-term, guided by clear visions and missions, managed by a very good team and dedicated professionals, coupled with a proper budget and good governance, I think it can make a lot of difference in our pursuits to achieve what we are striving for. In sports in particular, may be this is the time we should think of establishing a High Performance Centre (HPC). I believe a HPC can train and develop the potential athletes to their maximum ability Apart from that are the welfare of the athletes as well as good incentive. Naturally these are also key factors in motivating the athletes to do well.
Q: What changes, if any, does Your Royal Highness graciously wish to see in Brunei Darussalam over the next 10 years?
HRH: In the context of sports, personally, it is always my wish to see a change of mindset and how we can approach the issue at stake. We must change our mindset, for example from individualistic approach, which is unilateral in nature, to a more collective and open ended one, which is through consultation and discussion with all stakeholders. I am confident that through this process we can create a better understanding which eventually could produce excellent collaboration between the public and private sectors. This process is a powerful tool for us to uphold the national interest of this country.
Apart from that, of course, I would like to see the High Performance Centre established sooner rather than later, more stadiums both outdoor and indoor, more training facilities should be built, especially for those popular sports like football, baseball, softball, handball, futsal, beach soccer as well as other sports, which quite often faces difficulty in finding a suitable venue, either to conduct their training or organise their own tournaments.