By Hasnah Jusid
KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah still hums the ‘Bekikis Bulu Betis’ and ‘Hanya di Sabah’ songs after more than four months the historic ‘Kembara Kenali Borneo’ tour concluded, according to His Majesty’s Senior Private Secretary Datuk Nazim Mohd Alim.
The two songs were frequently played during the Sabah and Sarawak tour from Sept to 13 last year.
“His Majesty still fondly remembers the ‘Kembara Kenali Borneo’ tour. He would watch the videos, and until today, His Majesty listens to songs played during the tour such as
‘Bekikis Bulu Betis,’ ‘Hanya di Sabah,” he said during an interview with Bernama recently.
‘Bekikis Bulu Betis, an Iban song penned and sung by Andrewson Ngalai, and ‘Hanya di Sabah,’ performed by Dabra Sia, were among the ‘must play’ songs at events planned for the tour in Sabah and Sarawak.
Accompanied by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah and their children, Al-Sultan Abdullah drove a four-wheel vehicle, leading the convoy covering a journey of 2,332 kilometres.
Crossing the Pan Borneo Highway that connects Sabah, Sarawak, and Brunei, the first-ever royal tour provided an opportunity for the people of Sabah and Sarawak to see the royal family up close.
Through the ‘Kembara Kenali Borneo’ tour, Nazim said the people witnessed Their Majesties’ kindness and humility as the royal couple graciously interacted, had meals with them, and enjoyed moments of entertainment together.
Nazim said as a show of appreciation and love for the people in Sabah, His Majesty also personally requested performers from the Sabah Cultural Board to perform at the dinner event held in conjunction with the 262nd meeting of the Conference of Rulers in October last year.
A Sultan Abdullah is still impressed with the rousing welcome given by Sabahans and Sarawakians for the royal entourage during the tour, originally planned as a vacation, he added.
“We expected people to wait for Their Majesties, but we didn’t anticipate such a huge number of people that the reception would be overwhelming. So many people came, and some had sat on the road (while waiting)” he said.
The people of Sabah and Sarawak also took the opportunity to pass letters containing various requests and applications involving the construction of roads, power, and water supply, and the internet, among other things, to Their Majesties throughout the tour.
Producing a file filled with the letters, Nazim said His Majesty had read every single one of them.
“We held meetings upon returning from the tour and sorted the letters according to categories before bringing them to the Prime Minister. The government discussed the matter (requests, applications) and acted on them, and we received immediate feedback.
“All of these (letters) have been addressed, taken action on, 100 per cent, he added.