Leaders, royals gather for Golden Jubilee banquet in Brunei

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong calling on Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at the Istana Nurul Iman in Brunei yesterday. Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and his wife, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, arriving for the banquet last night, followed by In
Sultan Bolkiah with his guests at the royal banquet, which was also attended by thousands of his citizens.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong calling on Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at the Istana Nurul Iman in Brunei yesterday. Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and his wife, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, arriving for the banquet last night, followed by In
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mrs Lee arriving for the royal banquet at the Istana Nurul Iman last night. Behind them were Brunei's Prince Abdul Malik and his wife Dayangku Raabi'atul 'Adawiyyah.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong calling on Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at the Istana Nurul Iman in Brunei yesterday. Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and his wife, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, arriving for the banquet last night, followed by In
Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and his wife, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, arriving for the banquet last night, followed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his wife Iriana, and Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar and his wife, Raja Zarith Sofiah.PHOTO: REUTERS
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong calling on Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at the Istana Nurul Iman in Brunei yesterday. Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and his wife, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, arriving for the banquet last night, followed by In
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong calling on Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at the Istana Nurul Iman in Brunei yesterday.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who had an audience with Sultan Bolkiah earlier in the day, was there with Mrs Lee.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who had an audience with Sultan Bolkiah earlier in the day, was there with Mrs Lee.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

PM Lee and other dignitaries from region and beyond join Sultan in marking key occasion

Camaraderie and good cheer were in the air at the sprawling Istana Nurul Iman last night, as dignitaries from near and far attended a royal banquet to join Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in celebrating the Golden Jubilee of his accession to the throne.

At the head of the royal banquet hall, replete with chandeliers and golden trimming, sat the Sultan at a 44-seat table - surrounded by fellow leaders and royals from the region and farther afield.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who had an audience with Sultan Bolkiah earlier in the day, was there with Mrs Lee.

They were flanked by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and United Arab Emirates Minister of State Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad.

During his meeting with Sultan Bolkiah in the afternoon, Mr Lee conveyed Singapore's congratulations to the Sultan on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee, Singapore's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"Delighted to extend my warmest congratulations to the Sultan on the Golden Jubilee of his reign, which has brought peace and prosperity to the people of Brunei," Mr Lee said in a Facebook post. "We reaffirmed our warm and strong bilateral relationship, and the progress in our bilateral cooperation."

 

The Prime Minister noted in his post that both leaders had just met in July, when Sultan Bolkiah visited Singapore and commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement. The pact allows Brunei currency to be used in Singapore and vice versa.

Both leaders also looked forward to further strengthening bilateral and regional cooperation, Singapore's Foreign Ministry added.

At last night's banquet, representatives from Asean countries turned up in full force in black tie or ceremonial uniform, among them Malaysia's King, Sultan Muhammad V, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

Seated beside the Sultan was his wife, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha. They were flanked by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

The star-studded guest list included Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, Middle Eastern royalty and Britain's Prince Edward.

At the Sultan's table, guests dined on a spread that included a terrine of lobster, Alaskan crab, surf clam, and cream of beetroot and carrot soup. There was lobster makhanwala, lamb chanterelle, venison rendang, chicken korma, snapper in egg yolk wrap, soft-shell crab sambal, and nasi minyak or ghee rice with herbs.

The banquet, hosted by Sultan Bolkiah and his wife, was attended by thousands of his citizens as well, among them civil servants and uniformed personnel, who sat in the nearby dining hall and came dressed in white - as is the custom for night-time events involving the Sultan.

 

As the night drew to a close, fireworks lit up the sky over the palace.

Sultan Bolkiah was just 21 when he became his country's 29th sultan, and has in the five decades since led Brunei to independence and transformed it into one of South-east Asia's most developed countries. He is now the world's second-longest reigning monarch, after Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, who became queen in 1952 and celebrated 65 years on the throne in February this year.

Mr Lee leaves for Singapore this morning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2017, with the headline 'Leaders, royals gather for Golden Jubilee banquet in Brunei'. Print Edition | Subscribe