513 receive honourary medals
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
HIS Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Deputy Sultan, yesterday presented 513 individuals with honourary medals in recognition of their dedicated service to the government or for their contributions to the country.
In the presence of black cara Melayu and formal attire-clad state dignitaries, cabinet ministers, foreign envoys and other senior officials, His Royal Highness conferred medals on the honoured recipients at one of Istana Nurul Iman's halls, the Balai Singgahsana Indera Kenchana.
As done so in the previous years during investiture ceremonies, the medals were conferred with the consent and on behalf of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
The morning ceremony yesterday saw 43 people awarded with the Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (PJK), or Meritorious Service Medal, in recognition of those who exhibit undivided loyalty to His Majesty, the country as well as the official religion, Islam.
A further 280 people were presented with the Pingat Indah Kerja Baik (PIKB), or Excellent Service Medal.
The remaining 190 recipients were bestowed the Pingat Kerja Lama (PKL) or Long Service Medal, honouring civil servants who have served the government of His Majesty for two decades or more.
The only member of the private sector, and one of the 15 women, to be awarded the coveted PJK yesterday, Brunei's global trekker Norhayati Abu Bakar told The Brunei Times that she wanted to dedicate her medal to the youth of the country.
"Of course, I feel glad and appreciated but first and foremost, I want to dedicate this to the youth of Brunei," she said in a telephone interview following the awards ceremony.
The 43-year-old has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 1991 and has been on three separate four-wheel-drive world expeditions with husband Harun Kurt Eichbauer since 1999.
She hoped her achievements would inspire youths to make their own mark for the good of the nation.
"I want (the youths) to put themselves out there for the development of the country. They should try in their own way, with their own abilities to achieve for the sake of the country," she said.
Norhayati, who also plans to publish at least two books sometime this year on her worldly adventures, remarked that youths now had examples of people to learn from and "move the country forward", as highlighted by His Majesty.
Meanwhile, a 45-year-old from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also expressed his gratitude towards the monarch on being conferred the PIKB yesterday.
Hamidon Hj Mat Noor, who has been employed in the country's civil service for more than 20 years, shared that being awarded the medal made him feel proud and was a token that would give him the spirit to work harder and improve his performance.
"My goal now is to be the best at what I do," he said.
Murni Hj Mahali, 41, shared how his was shaking from nervousness upon receiving his PIKB from His Royal Highness during the investiture ceremony.
"I feel really lucky because not everyone gets this (medal)," he said.
Placed at the Land Department but working as a systems operator under the E-government National Centre, Murni also expressed his gratitude for being appreciated and recognised.
"From there, there is already a commitment to always (strive) to upgrade my work."
This session of the investiture ceremonies are expected to continue today and tomorrow, with more people to be awarded various medals.
Last year's series of investiture ceremonies saw a total of 3,419 recipients. This figure surpassed the 1,742 and 1,928 awardees in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
The Brunei Times