Sultan opens new MinDef building
By Yusrin Junaidi

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Minister of Defence and Supreme Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), yesterday morning consented to officiate the new Ministry of Defence building at Bolkiah Garrison, Berakas.

Upon his arrival, His Majesty was greeted by Deputy Minister of Defence, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Paduka Hj Mohammad Yasmin bin Hj Umar; Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awang Halbi bin Hj Md Yussof; and Dato Paduka Hj Abd Majid bin Hj Mangarshah, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence.

Also in attendance were deputy permanent secretaries and senior officers from the Ministry of Defence and Royal Brunei Armed Forces.

His Majesty inspected a guard of honour comprising 111 personnel from the 1st Battalion Royal Brunei Land Force under the command of Major Saiful Rizal bin Abdul Latif.

Later, His Majesty opened the new building by signing the plaque at the Tower Block followed by a doa selamat recited by Ustaz Ruslan bin Hj Sulaiman, Senior Religious Officer, to bless the ceremony.

The monarch visited His Majesty's Office and the offices within the premises of the Tower Block, as well as the units located at the outer block of the Ministry of Defence.

His Majesty ended his visit at the Surau, Bolkiah Garrison Gymnasium and the Defence Information Technology Unit.

His Majesty also consented to visit the Officer Cadet School (OCS) of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces located at Jalan Sungai Akar, Berakas.

Accompanying His Majesty were the Deputy Minister of Defence, Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, and Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence.

OCS is the first phase in the development of the Defence Academy in line with the aspiration of the Defence White Paper Update 2007.

The first intake for OCS is scheduled for August 25 comprising 41 young male and female officer cadets.

Amongst the objectives of OCS is to train officer cadets to become future officers of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, catering to the needs and requirements of the tri-services.

The training will be conducted for 10 months and divided into three phases. The first phase of 14 weeks will focus on generic training, including basic military training.

The second phase of 22 weeks will be more on specialist training in accordance with respective services, while the third and final phase of six weeks will involve joint training of the tri-services. - Borneo Bulletin (14th August 2008)