The Brunei Darussalam Scouts Association (PPNBD) recently celebrated the 90th anniversary of its establishment in the Sultanate. Throughout their nine-decade journey, PPNBD has marked several milestones, developments, achievements and successes.
In its 90 years of existence, PPNBD has also played a major role in setting up a strong scout movement in the country. Year 1933 was when the scout movement set up its foothold and continued to develop as they set up their first branch in Tutong District in 1936. The Belait District branch was established in 1940 and the Temburong District branch was opened in 1974.
According to the PPNBD, during its early years, the Scout of Brunei State (what it was formerly known as) was registered under the Boy Scout Association in London. Such registration enabled the association to form the Brunei Local Association.
The association was set up based on a suggestion by some teachers in Brunei which later saw 10 former local trainees who had completed their training at Sultan Idris Teacher Training College being enrolled as PPNBD members. Pioneering and leading the membership was Haji Marsal bin Maun, later known as Dato Seri Paduka Haji Marsal bin Maun, one of Brunei’s teachers enrolled to the college.
After completing his training at the college in December 1932, he invited 12 boys from Jalan Pemancha Malay School in Brunei Town to become PPNBD’s members. In 1940, another group was set up in the Belait District comprising 40 members led by Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wangsa Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad Salleh bin Masri, who was also one of the former intakes of Sultan Idris Teachers Training College.
Between 1933 to 1938, PPNBD was merged under the Scout Organisation in Singapore as Brunei back then was administered by the Singapore Governor. In 1939, after the Brunei State Scout was registered under the Boy Scout Association in London, the Sultanate formed a local association which saw Zainal Abidin bin Ali, an education supervisor who had been loaned by the Malay State Government to Brunei Education Officer, as the founder.
Brunei’s scouting movement continued to grow as the movement spread to other regions. The movement found a place in the hearts of children and youth. The purpose of the scout movement is to shape character and skills as well as strengthen the development, formation of mental, physical, social, intellectual and spiritual use to involve oneself in the development of the society and the country. In addition, it also forms and develops the basic values of life in accordance with the loyalty and law of scouts and maintains the nobility of Bruneian values and character.
In 1976, the scout movement was accepted as Allied Members in the Asia Pacific region, and became the 117th member of the World Organization of Scouts Movement (WOSM) along with the World Scout Bureau in a conference held in Dakar, Senegal in 1981. To celebrate the commemorative membership acceptance, PPNBD marks July 1 annually as Brunei Darussalam Scout’s Day.
In October 1981 the PPNBD held a Doa Kesyukuran ceremony. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam graced the event and awarded the appointment Head of PPNBD to Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Diraja Dato Laila Utama Awang Hussein bin Pehin Orang Kaya Digadong Seri Diraja Dato Laila Utama Haji Awang Mohd Yusof.
PPNBD was later accepted into the International Union of Muslim Scouts (IUMS) at a conference in Dakar, Senegal in 1995.
PPNBD shared that the highest achievement is His Majesty becoming the Honorary Patron of the WOSM at a ceremony at Istana Nurul Iman on November 1, 1993, for which the appointment was handed over by then WOSM Secretary-General Dr Jaques Moreillon.
In December 7, 2013 during the 4th National Jamboree, His Majesty graced the event by delivering a titah appointing His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office as the Chief Scout of Brunei Darussalam.
To date, there are about 1,000 members from all levels of membership in PPNBD. Public acceptance of this movement is very encouraging, especially among parents, because this movement is the oldest non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the Sultanate. In addition, this movement offers activities aimed at the development of the personality of children and youth.
PPNBD also plays a role in assisting the government in youth development, especially character development of children and youth by offering interesting and appropriate youth programmes.
In addition, PPNBD members, especially adult scouts, have assisted the government by volunteering during the COVID-19 outbreak. PPNBD is also active at the global and regional level by following programmes organised by the WOSM either at the ASEAN level or also at the Asia Pacific level such as attending and participating in Jamborees, scout conferences, workshops and seminar.
Some adult scout members, especially scout leaders, have been resource persons, facilitators and held important positions at the Asia Pacific level and some have been recognised and awards from the World Scout Movement at the Asia Pacific level for their services.
For Brunei, PPNBD organised the National Jamboree four times – in 1985, 1989, 1999 and 2013. The participation of scout members locally and abroad has been encouraging. PPNBD has also held a collaboration camp with the Girl Guides Association and the Red Crescent Society to organise the International Youth Camp in 2001. In 2004, PPNBD was entrusted by the Asia Pacific World Scout Movement to host the Asia Pacific Scout Conference.