Avoid b’day overspending: HM

National 2 minutes, 24 seconds


HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, urged the government to avoid excessive spending for his upcoming 70th birthday celebrations.

During a meeting of the executive committee yesterday, the monarch said decorative banners and arches should be used in moderation and that the committee should not exceed the allocated budget or be too reliant on private donors.

“Each year the committee convenes or holds its meeting, but rarely or never before have the members seriously discussed the issue of wastage,” he said in a titah at the Prime Minister’s Office. “It is not because the global economy is beset by problems that we now talk of wastefulness. Whether the economy is in trouble or not, it is still necessary to avoid waste.”

While praising the generosity of private donors, His Majesty said sponsorships had facilitated overspending, and that the funds could be put to better use by alleviating the burden of the needy.

“All these time we only know how to spend and accumulate money for the celebration… In the past we witnessed ministers or other officials receiving donations from many sources. This is most displeasing.”

The Sultan said that previous committees for his birthday celebrations and National Day had failed to pay their debts to vendors, and that sometimes full payment not made until the following year.

“Both committees need to be more careful because at the end of the festivities they have been found to have not paid up some of their obligations… I don’t think there is a problem of insufficient funds… It is simply for holding a celebration. We can estimate the cost to fit the budget.”

His Majesty said the annual celebration, held on July 15, was a unique tradition that served as a platform to deliver royal directives, as well as foster a close relationship between the monarch and the people.

He added that all forms of celebration within Brunei must be “thoroughly scrutinised and their limitations and criteria must be identified”.

“They should not be unrestrained or according to whims and fancies. Entertainment has its limits or boundaries and one should not go all out with abandon to celebrate,” he said. “We need not spend lavishly to our hearts’ content… such activity is strongly forbidden by religion. It is here where common sense must prevail, and here lies one of the important responsibilities of the committee.”

Accompanying His Majesty to the meeting yesterday was His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; and HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik.

The executive committee for His Majesty’s 70th birthday celebrations is chaired by the Minister of Home Affairs YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar Hj Apong.

The Brunei Times