Character-building programme for youth awaits govt approval

National 2 minutes, 6 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports YB Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Ahmad Hj Jumat has announced plans to introduce a three-month programme dubbed "Program Khidmat Bakti Belia Negara" (PKBN) which was still awaiting government approval.

The programme is designed towards building visionary and well-mannered youths, which is based on the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) national philosophy, instead of involving any military aspects, in particular the use of weapons, he said the sixth session at the State Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting on Saturday.

He said that the programme's objectives are similar to existing programmes already carried out by the ministry, such as 'Program Belia Bertuah', 'Program Kamas' and 'Program Belia Cinta Tanahair".

The target group for PKBN are male and female students, aged between 16-18 years old, who have already completed their 'O' Level examinations.

The students will undergo medical examination, but approval must be obtained from parents, guardians and the school before participating in the programme. The minister did not mention whether the PKBN was intended to be compulsory or not.

The minister told the council that before the programme can be implemented, several key elements must be put in place—PKBN Act, proper infrastructure, administration and budget.

The proposed PKBN aims to create an excellent Bruneian youth in line with the national youth policy by developing the youth's identity and nationalism through discipline and physical training as well as community services, added YB Pehin Dato Hj Ahmad.

He was responding to LegCo member YB Orang Kaya Maha Wijaya Hj Othman Uking, who enquired whether the government was considering a National Service scheme as a way to discipline youths into becoming responsible members of the society.

During a recently held forum organised by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the forum touched on the issue of loitering and also stressed on the need for religious education to instil a pure sense of identity among youths.

The minister stressed that PKBN was not a National Service programme, but he did not elaborate whether or not the ministry was considering setting one up. However, during the inaugural National Youth Congress in 2008, a platform for youths to engage in a discussion with national leaders, former CYS minister, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Hj Mohammad Hj Daud said: "In discussions it has been approved and InsyaAllah if we are ready we can do it as soon as possible."

The Brunei Times