HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, was born during the era when Brunei was completely experiencing shortcomings after a three-year Japanese military occupation and under the Allied Forces’s administration.
His Majesty was born at Istana Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, on July 15, 1946, when his uncle, Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin, who ruled as the 27th Sultan of Brunei, was struggling to sow the seeds of nationalism, uniting Bruneian people to gain their independence.
Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin was then supported by Crown Prince Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien, father of His Majesty.
They were the trio of Bruneian sultans who struggled to gain independence from the British as described in His Majesty’s biography entitled Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Penegak Warisan Bangsa Melayu (Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Upholder of Malay National Legacy).
The biography was written in Malay by Dr Muhammad Hadi Muhammad Melayong, a senior historian (now Director of the Department of Information).
Before published by the Brunei History Centre in 2007, the 146-book was a manuscript slated for the “Publication Project of the Committee for the Royal Sovereignty Exhibition” in conjunction with the 60th Anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah’s birthday in 2006.
The writer mentioned that the struggle of the Brunei independence was reached through processes under the leaderships of the three sultans.
Firstly, Sultan Tajuddin who pioneered the movement of Brunei’s nationalism in the 1940s. Secondly, Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien who designed and negotiated for the manifestation of an independent state based upon the Malay Islamic Monarchy (1950-1967) concept. Thirdly, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah who prepared and gained the full independence of Brunei (1967-1984).
According to the writer, the pre-independence era had served as a platform to prepare to discipline and train His Majesty into becoming the “Visionary and Caring Sultan”.
Under his leadership, His Majesty tries to continue his uncle and father’s struggles to rule and to develop the country.
By declaring the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) as the state philosophy, he successfully rules his administration by uniting the people and revitalising the Sultanate as a peaceful, prosperous and respectful country as his commitment. During His Majesty’s ascension to the throne on October 5, 1967: “I will do my best to carry out the policies of my father and will always protect the peace and tranquility and the endeavour to maintain the prosperity and the good name of Brunei.”
In his proclamation of independence’s on January 1, 1984, His Majesty emphasised that “Negara Brunei Darussalam with Allah God the Most Holy and the Most High’s permission and abundant grant is forever to remain a democratic, sovereign, and independent State of Malay Islamic Monarchy based on the Islamic teachings according to Ahli Sunnah Waljama’ah and also based on justice, trust, and freedom, as well as Allah’s guidance and blessings.”
After the proclamation, however, fierce criticisms came from both abroad and local parties, showing their pessimism and disbelief in the ability and practicality of the MIB philosophy as the basis of the Sultanate’s administration.
One of the MIB elements, Islam, is the faith which highly respects plurality, while the others, Malay and Monarchy, are to preserve the existence of Malay culture and people as well as the Sultanate continuity respectively.
Although the MIB was legally declared in 1984 by His Majesty, actually it has been existing as the supporter of the nation, religion, and state since 600 years ago when Awang Alak Betatar established the Islamic Malay sultanate and changed his name to Sultan Muhammad Shah.
In his Golden Jubilee Anniversary’s titah, 5 October 1992, His Majesty underscored that the existing philosophy and system “is strong and even successfully brings benevolence for the people and state and creating well-being and superiority for Negara Brunei Darussalam”.
The biography is interesting because the writer used socio-historical approaches, making the readers, especially Brunei’s younger generation to understand more of socio-political conditions faced by His Majesty in respective situation.
The writer’s description about the 1962 rebellion is apparently too long and over-lapping at least in the two chapters.
Besides that there are no any index and biodata of the writer at the end of the book to assist those who have interest in His Majesty’s biography and Brunei history, including students, journalists, and researchers, in conducting further research.
The Brunei Times
Monday, August 3, 2009