Brunei Defence Academy ‘most advanced in region’
Danial Norjidi

BRUNEI’S Defence Academy will be the most advanced, up-to-date and relevant officer training facility in the region once completed.

The academy which is currently undergoing construction was visited yesterday by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, as part of a series of development project site visits in the Brunei-Muara District.

According to information on display at the site yesterday, the primary concept for the academy is to complement the vision of the Ministry of Defence in delivering robust, responsive and resource-efficient armed forces by attributing respect to the defence of our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and by upholding the constitution and the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) philosophy.

Speaking to the Bulletin on-site yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Defence, Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mustappa bin Haji Sirat said of the project, “It’s coming along very well.

“We have divided the whole project into four packages. At the moment, packages 1 and 2 have taken off very well and we are now at 60 per cent in the development. The anticipated time of completion for these two packages is October 2014, which is another five months away.”

Each package represents a phase of the academy’s construction.

Package 1 includes a main entrance and guard house, officer’s mess and accommodation, central library and auditorium, staff college, a leadership and management centre, ceremonial/dining hall, parade square, grandstand and watertank, which, in total, amount to $43.5 million.

Package 2 involves the construction of advanced and basic obstacle courses, an Officer Cadet School (OCS) Headquarters (HQ), OCS, OCS mess, two OCS Accommodation Blocks, MT/Estate Management and OCS clothing/UET, amounting to $16.9 million.

He said that according to the architect involved in drawing the plans for the Defence Academy, “this will be the most advanced, up-to-date and relevant officer training facility within the region”.

Asked if this means that training can be fully carried out locally through the academy, he said, “The Defence Academy will be able to offer training to cadets locally up to a certain level but for the most advanced levels, we are still relying on foreign institutions for certain defence courses. We will still be sending our officers to London, Australia and so on.”

The site of the academy is about eight kilometres east of the entrance to Berakas Camp and within two kilometres of the Nakhoda Ragam Vocational School, the Fisheries Department facilities and Meragang Sixth Form Centre. The area is covered in dense forests and moderate hilly terrain and lower flatter plains.

“It’s a very huge estate,” said Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mustappa. “It involves 70 hectares of land in a nice location. Being next to Berakas Camp, it’s very convenient.” - Borneo Bulletin (27 May 2014)