Close military interactions lead to stability, security
Aziz Idris

BASED on research done recently by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in cooperation with Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies, there are a number of social problems among the youths 15 to 26 years old. Problems that need serious attention are violence, public nuisance, dropping out from school, bullying and abuse.

Although the problems are not as critical as experienced by a number of other countries, they are still a worry because they can infect and spread any time like a disease.

The findings of the worrying social problems were revealed by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah delivered during the passing out parade for the first intake of the National Service Programme or Program Khidmat Bakti Negara (PKBN) yesterday at the parade ground of the Games Village.

To combat the social problems, His Majesty said, “A country needs to have an approach to stem the disease and one of them is the National Service Programme.”

Through PKBN, His Majesty said “understanding and awareness can be raised among youths and they will become the pillar of our hopes and aspirations”.

His Majesty described the success of the previous National Service Programme pilot projects that have helped improve the attitude and mindset of youths based on feedback from parents and former trainees.

“The programme has managed to bring about positive change among the trainees although the duration allocated is very short, which is only three months. This has shown that the trainees have the determination and ability to progress,” said the ruler.

According to a survey done by UBD, His Majesty said, “More than 80 per cent of parents and former trainees have expressed satisfaction with the programme. Parents in particular have stated that their children have changed drastically after participating in the programme. The changes include becoming more respectful towards the elderly and more helpful to people (in general).”

“Overall, I am also happy to know that the youth development programme has achieved its target. I hope that with the establishment of a PKBN training camp and centre in Batu Apoi, Temburong, it will be able to accept more trainees which is estimated around 700 each intake.”

His Majesty hoped that members of the public, especially parents and youths, will continue to give strong support in fulfilling the government’s aspiration in producing youths who are excellent, dynamic and progressive as well as loyal to the monarch, nation, religion and country.

His Majesty said he would like to see former trainees, who are currently 500 in number, continue to play a vital role in the community.

Therefore, His Majesty welcomed the suggestion of setting up PKBN trainees alumni to become the platform for former trainees to continue to contribute to the country.

Earlier in the titah, His Majesty had explained the rationale of introducing the National Service Programme for the development of youths in the country.

For successful development and the obligation to defend the country, His Majesty said, “We need citizens especially youths that are disciplined as they are undoubtedly the leaders who will shape the future.

“It’s good that we have looked at some countries in the world either in Europe, Asia or Southeast Asia that already have programmes for youths in the form of national service or a similar programme. These programmes have facilitated high economic growth in some countries despite them not having natural resources and are even classified as one that has low per capita income. Because of that, I didn’t hesitate to consent for a number of pilot projects for the National Service Programme to take place whereby the initial stage is lead by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.”

The programme’s syllabus and training, His Majesty said, comprise Bruneian elements based on the MIB philosophy and is called PKBN in short. It is aspired to be a youth development programme that is superior, unique and effective.

“I have already stressed that in the implementation of the programme, we need to ensure that the curriculum, infrastructure and suitable trainers as well as facilitators and equipment are of the best and guaranteed safe. I hope that during the three-month intensive training, the trainees will become good and virtuous citizens so that when they return to their home and community, the trainees will display a more mature attitude and give back to the community and the country.”

His Majesty congratulated the trainees who have completed their training and hoped that they would become role models and inspiration for other youths to join the programme in the coming intakes. - Borneo Bulletin (3 December 2013)