His Majesty visits National Service camp
By Azlan Othman

The National Service Programme (PKBN) pilot project received a royal boost yesterday when His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam visited the training camp at the Sports Village of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.

Clad in a PKBN outfit himself, the monarch mingled with the young trainees who included those waiting for their 'O' and 'A' Level examinations, youths from associations and those who were unemployed.

His Majesty had consented to the implementation of the National Service Programme which the ruler wanted to be the best-ever programme as highlighted in his titah at the 6th National Youth Day celebration last year.

His Majesty took a closer look at the training programmes, accommodation and facilities at the Sports Village. The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports spearheaded the implementation of PKBN.

His Majesty inspected a guard of honour and witnessed a martial art presentation by the trainees, an acrobatic show and a march pass.

The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah described the pilot project as successful.

"The trainees carried out the training programmes with full discipline and in high spirit and were able to tackle obstacles and challenges such as the 24-hour 'solo campaign' at Batang Duri in Temburong and kayaking for five hours from Serasa Beach to Pelumpong Island."

In terms of fitness, many of the trainees have improved their physique and stamina due to participation in the challenging physical programmes.

"Based on the feedback from the trainees, supervisors and parents, the pilot project proved to be successful in meeting the target of its establishment and brought benefits to the trainees."

Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair said the pilot project started on December 5, 2011.

The programme is the aspiration of His Majesty to instil in youths a strong national identity and love towards the monarch, people and the nation. The programme also seeks to instil the spirit of independence and entrepreneurship in facing the pressing challenges in life and to make the participants a priceless national asset. Some 78 youths comprising 46 men and 32 women took part in the National Service Programme (PKBN) pilot project. Initially, there were 80 trainees, but two pulled out due to health reasons.

The trainees were under the supervision of 43 experienced supervisors who were from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, the Royal Brunei Police Force, the Fire and Rescue Department, the Outward Bound Centre and other volunteers.

The supervisors and teaching workforce taught the trainees full-time, while others gave briefings on topics relating to laws, ceremonial ethics and traditions, religion, entrepreneurship, economy, Malay Islamic Monarchy philosophy and other matters.

Officials from the civil service and private consultants were also brought in to handle several modules. Throughout the 84-day training, the trainees were exposed to programmes under four components, namely, national identity and nationalism, physical training and discipline, entrepreneurship and community service. - Borneo Bulletin (26th February 2012)