Sultan lauds PKBN trainees
Siti Hajar, Hakeem Azis & Aziz Idris

The almost 100 youths from the nation's Second Pilot Project for the National Service Programme (PKBN) who performed for His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday received praise from the monarch who expressed his approval of the hard work by the trainees.

As part of the scheduled royal visit - the second following the first visit in February this year since PKBN was introduced in 2011 - His Majesty was presented with a number of performances, which not only require training and discipline but also stamina and determination.

In an event that took place on the newly constructed Parade Ground built exclusively for PKBN trainees located in the Sports Village in Berakas after His Majesty voiced the need for such a facility, "The parade was good," commented the monarch when His Majesty consented to share his views with the Borneo Bulletin on the day's activities, which also included the singing of the national anthem, martial arts performance, a march past, the singing of the PKBN song as well as the PKBN cheer.

On the recently added feature in the PKBN curriculum, particularly arms training, His Majesty noted that "it is something new" involving training with simulators, live bullets as well as paintball exercises with cooperation from various government agencies including the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and the Royal Brunei Technical Services (RBTS).

Following the presentation that was executed with military precision, His Majesty was introduced to the paintball area located nearby where the monarch, who was accompanied and briefed by personnel from RBTS and Unilink Jaya Enterprise, consented to fire paintballs at a target with perfection to the cheers of attendees.

Dressed in the signature PKBN army-style uniform, His Majesty, accompanied by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, then consented to witness a seven-minute paintball standoff between the first and second PKBN intakes who demonstrated their recently gained prowess since being initiated into the programme for youths in April.

After being presented with a token of appreciation by the paintball training organisers, His Majesty was then escorted into the PKBN main building where the monarch was briefed by the minister on the progress that has been made thus far in improving the quality of education for trainees as well as a briefing on research conducted by Universiti Brunei Darussalam touching upon the various findings on the effectiveness and responses of the national programme.

This was followed with an exhibition of a proposed project for a new permanent infrastructure for PKBN as well as a video presentation

An impressive gymnastic performance then took place that saw a number of trainees showcasing their talent and physical strength acquired through activities such as carrying of logs and three-kilogramme bags.

His Majesty then visited both female and male hostels where His Majesty witnessed trainees in class studying Islamic religious subjects, reciting al-Quran, reciting Zikir, learning the Malay Islamic Monarchy philosophy, Business and Finance courses and an M-16 rifle handling demonstration.

The trainees were then given the opportunity to dine with His Majesty inside the PKBN camp's dining hall followed by the signing of the royal parchment and a pesambah from PKBN.

His Majesty later went round and spoke to some of the trainees.

The day's session concluded with a group photo of His Majesty with the trainees. - Borneo Bulletin (22 June 2012)