Wednesday, June 26, 2024
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Brunei Town

Diversed debaters

Youth platform provides space for individuals to voice ideas and aspirations towards national progress

Establishing a youth platform in Brunei Darussalam is of paramount importance as it serves as a catalyst for the nation’s socio-economic development and future sustainability. Brunei’s youth constitute a significant demographic, representing the driving force behind innovation, creativity, and progress.

A dedicated platform provides space for young individuals to voice their ideas, concerns and aspirations, fostering a sense of empowerment and inclusivity.



In a collaborative effort to enhance ties between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore, the Bahas Muhibbah 2023, a friendly Malay language debate, emerged as a joint initiative by Curious Playgrounds and 4PM Malay Youth Literary Association.

The event featured 12 students, all of whom eagerly participated in a spirited exchange of ideas.

Among the participants, eight hailed from the Meragang Sixth Form Centre and Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) in Brunei, while five represented the Singapore Akademi Bahas (Debate Academy), currently pursuing studies at Madrasah Alsagoff Al-Arabiah and Ngee Ann Polytechnic, along with a former Raffles Institution student.

The debate showcased two teams comprising both Bruneian and Singaporean debaters.

Taking place at Balai Khazanah Islam Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, the Bahas Muhibbah 2023 allowed debaters two weeks of preparation before stepping onto the stage for the competition.

Centred on the theme ‘Pendidikan inklusif ialah impian yang boleh dicapai‘ or ‘Inclusive education is a dream that can be achieved,’ the friendly Malay language debate aimed to address the crucial topic of inclusive education.

This concept emphasises every student’s right to a learning experience that honours diversity, encourages participation, eliminates barriers, and considers a range of learning needs and preferences.

The debaters were divided into two factions – the pencadang (proposition) and penyanggah (opposition).



Bahas Muhibbah 2023 is part of the continuous efforts to provide young people with a platform for mentoring, addressing, leading, and advocating environmental, educational, and social issues, becoming a catalyst for change and inspiration for a better future,” explained President of the Curious Playgrounds, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Hamlatul Arsy Mulia.

“The event is also in conjunction with Day of Action (DoA), which has nine pillars, and one of them is education.

“It also aims to be a platform for volunteers to showcase and contribute their skills and energy, and eventually hoped to inspire them to create their own projects and events together to make a more vibrant future for Brunei.”

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Hamlatul Arsy Mulia then went on to note that Bahas Muhibbah 2023 was one of the many activities planned to empower the Malay language, youth education, creativity, and collaborations.

“Our youth platform is intricately aligned with the overarching objectives set forth by Brunei Vision 2035, aiming to contribute significantly to the nation’s aspirations for holistic development and progress.

“At the heart of Vision 2035 lies the goal of nurturing a dynamic and knowledgeable society that thrives in a diversified and sustainable economy.”

The president further noted the platform’s direct resonation with this objective by empowering Brunei’s youth with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities essential to become active contributors to the nation’s growth.

Curious Playground President Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Hamlatul Arsy Mulia in a group photo with the debate team. PHOTO: ROKIAH MAHMUD

One of the key pillars of Vision 2035 is the development of a highly educated and skilled workforce.

The platform actively supports this goal by providing tailored programmes, workshops, and mentorship opportunities that equip young individuals with not only creative skills but also the essential soft skills required for success in today’s rapidly evolving world.

Moreover, Vision 2035 emphasises economic diversification, aiming to reduce dependency on oil and gas.

The platform contributes to this objective by fostering the growth of a vibrant creative industry.

“By nurturing talents and encouraging innovation across various creative disciplines, we are laying the groundwork for a diversified economy driven by the talents and entrepreneurial endeavours of Brunei’s youth,” said the president.

Furthermore, as the Vision 2035 emphasises the importance of social harmony, strong values, and national identity, the platform plays a pivotal role in this context by promoting inclusivity, encouraging cultural expression, and fostering a sense of pride among the youth in their creative pursuits.

This contribution adds to the rich cultural fabric that defines Brunei’s identity.

In essence, the youth platform aligns with and actively contributes to the multifaceted objectives of Brunei Vision 2035 by empowering and preparing the next generation to be active participants in realising the nation’s aspirations for a prosperous, diversified, and knowledge-based economy, while preserving the unique cultural heritage.



“Our organisation sees itself as a pivotal contributor in shaping and nurturing Brunei’s youth to fulfil the vision and goals outlined for the nation by 2035.

“We envision playing a multifaceted role that encompasses empowerment, education, advocacy, and industry development,” explained the president.

The organisation, said the President, functions as a catalyst for empowerment as it strives to instil in the youth a sense of confidence, ownership, and agency in their creative pursuits.

Through mentorship programmes, educational initiatives, and skill-building workshops, the organisation empowers them with the necessary tools and knowledge to actively contribute to Brunei’s developmental goals. Education forms a cornerstone of the organisation’s approach.

Its role is envisioned as an educational hub where young talents acquire not just technical skills but also critical thinking abilities, adaptability, and entrepreneurship acumen. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation, the organisation prepares them to be agile contributors in an evolving economic landscape.

“Moreover, our organisation serves as an advocate for the creative youth, amplifying their voices, talents, and aspirations.

“We aim to create platforms and networks that showcase their abilities, connect them with industry leaders, and advocate for the recognition and support of creative endeavours within Brunei’s societal framework.”

Additionally, they envision contributing significantly to industry development, by nurturing talents, fostering collaboration and promoting innovation within the creative centre.

“We aim to cultivate an environment ripe for economic growth and diversification. Through this, we aspire to position Brunei as a hub for creative excellence regionally and globally.”

Ultimately, the president noted that the organisation’s sees its role aligning with Brunei’s aspirations for a dynamic, diversified and knowledge-based economy by 2035.

By nurturing the talents, skills, and entrepreneurial spirit of Brunei’s youth, we envision actively shaping a future where creativity is not only valued but serves as a driving force for societal progress and economic prosperity in line with the nation’s vision.



President of 4PM Malay Youth Literary Association Nassar Mohamad Zain, on the other hand, expressed that the true essence of Bahas Muhibbah 2023 is to enhance cooperation between the two countries and cultivate mutual understanding between Brunei and Singapore across various aspects.

Bahas Muhibbah aims to not only boost participants’ self-confidence, critical thinking, and oratorical skills through a friendly debate competition, but also to elevate the standard of debate by transforming it into a regional competition.

The association hopes to forge stronger bonds between the two countries by exchanging experiences, sharing knowledge and enhancing bilateral relations.

Through this programme, he said the participants are offered a unique experience for cultural and intellectual exchange, critical thinking and cultural immersion.

“It is a platform for youth to embrace the Malay language and learn how people from different parts of the region are beautifully using it.” – Rokiah Mahmud