Friday, May 29, 2009

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien 3

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien 3 was born on 23 september 1914 at Istana Kota, Kampong Sultan Lama, Brunei Town (now Bandar Seri Begawan). He was the 28th sultan of Brunei. He was installed as the 28th sultan of Brunei on June 14, 1950 & was crowned on May 31, 1951.

He was the seventh child of Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam 2 and Raja Isteri Fatimah and the second surviving son of the couple with his elderly brother who would later become Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin.
Pengiran Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien studied at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar in Perak, Malaya from 1932 to 1936. After finishing education in Malaya, His Highness then came back to Brunei in 1936 to work in the Foresrty Department, Kuala Belait as a Cadet Officer. In 1938, he was transferred to the Judiciary Department also in Kuala Belait in 1937.

He was conferred with the title Pengiran Bendahara Seri Maharaja Permaisuara by his brother, Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin on 15 July 1947. He was subsequently appointed as a member of Brunei State Council and Chairman of the Syariah Court.

On the death of his brother, leaving no male heirs on 4 June 1950, he was proclaimed as the next Sultan on the 6th June 1950.
In the early era of his rule, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien focused on raising Brunei's standard of living. His top priority was providing adequate education. Several primary and secondary schools were built throughout the nation to ensure that all citizens could attend formal schooling. A free-food scheme was introduced in rural schools and students with distinction results were sent abroad for higher education. In 1953, he introduced the first national development plan with an allocation of $100 million. The plan's aims included providing basic education to all districts; improving communication systems; raising the quality of medical and health services; increasing agricultural products as well as providing basic services such as roads, electricity and water to all the people.
In 1952 Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien worked for the implementation of the Brunei written constitution as the foundation of governance and the achievement of independence from Britain. Discussions with the British government culminated in the signing of the Brunei written constitution and the Brunei Agreement on 29 September 1959 at the Lapau in Bandar Seri Begawan. Among other things, the constitution stipulated that Malay and Islam are, respectively, to be the official language and the official religion of Brunei. At the same time, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien had consented to the formation of the Brunei Malay Regiment, which was elevated to the Royal Brunei Armed Forces after independence.
After ruling for 17 years, on 4 October 1967, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien willingly abdicated in favour of his eldest son, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.
Brunei achieved its independence on 1 January 1984 as promised by Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien. Although he had abdicated, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien continued to play an important role as a mentor to his son, as the first Brunei Defence Minister until his death on 7 September 1986.
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien's reign was marked by so much progress that he is known as the "Architect of Modern Brunei". In recognition of his contributions, on October 1970, His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, had consented to rename Brunei Town, Brunei's capital to Bandar Seri Begawan, after his father's title, further several institutions and places in Brunei were named after him: the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque; Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien College; the Seri Begawan Religious Teaching College; the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Institute of Islamic studies of Universiti Brunei Darussalam; the Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Science College; and the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien in the capital