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Thursday, August 18, 2022
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Thursday, August 18, 2022
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    His Majesty: Strong leadership crucial to advancement

    Azlan Othman

    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 yesterday highlighted the need for exemplary leaders at the Ministry of Defence (MinDef) and Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF).

    The monarch noted this during the officiating of the new Security Education Centre (PPS) building, Defence Security Branch, Defence Minister’s Office and Directorate Strategic Planning at Bolkiah Garrison yesterday.

    “With the budget allocation for financial years 2022-2023, it is hoped that all plans – in the Defence White Paper 2021-2035, Force 2035 and Force Structure Review (FSR) – will be realised in accordance with their priority level.

    “While the substantial budget allocation will undoubtedly improve the defence organisation’s image, this alone is not enough,” His Majesty said, citing strong leadership values and capabilities as being of equal importance.

    “Senior RBAF officers cannot be proud of their external image if their leadership and authority are still weak. Likewise, it is not acceptable to depend on impressive appearance alone, where there are bad attitudes lying beneath,” the monarch said.

    His Majesty underscored the importance of senior officers possessing high integrity, strong moral values, honesty, fairness and trustworthiness as these are “strong qualities that subordinates can emulate”.

    MinDef and RBAF leaders were also queried on the ministry’s forward trajectory.

    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; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; and His Royal Highness 920 Major (U) Prince ‘Abdul Mateen at the Bolkiah Garrison. PHOTOS: INFOFOTO
    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;
    His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; and His Royal Highness 920 Major (U) Prince ‘Abdul Mateen at the Bolkiah Garrison.

    The Minister of Defence II was questioned on the progress of efforts to fulfil MinDef’s visions and future direction.

    The frequency of meetings with the Defence Executive Committee members (JEP), scopes discussed and whether the outcomes of the meeting are being channelled to the subordinate level at the MinDef were also called into question.

    The monarch also asked the Commander of the RBAF for the short-, medium- and long-term plans to enhance its capability in human resources and defence assets.

    “With the capabilities of the existing military units, what are the duties of land, maritime and air patrols? What plans are in place to fill the capability gap in order to uphold national defence, and what is the defence posture with the current capability,” His Majesty asked.

    The monarch also asked what action has been taken to address the issue of army personnel involvement in disciplinary and criminal cases both at and outside of camp.

    The Acting Permanent Secretary at the MinDef was queried on the approved budget allocation for 2022-2023, as well as MinDef and RBAF’s plans that can be implemented to cover projects according to the priority of procurement of RBAF.

    Meanwhile, the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Finance and Administration) was asked about the career development process of senior officers at the MinDef in terms of promotion and filling of posts on a permanent basis, and the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Development and Maintenance) queried on how development projects are coordinated.

    Turning attention to the fourth edition of the Defence White Paper 2021, launched on May 31, 2021, His Majesty asked the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Policy and Strategy) what steps have been taken to ensure the Defence White Paper is “carried out accordingly”.

    The Commander of the Royal Brunei Land Force (RBLF), who has held office for two months, was asked to provide an assessment on the strengths and weaknesses, as well as the actions that have been taken to refine RBLF’s capability status.

    In view of the construction of the Temburong bridge, industrialisation of Pulau Muara Besar and increased commercial activities in Brunei Bay and Muara Port Terminal, His Majesty asked the Commander of the Royal Brunei Navy (RBN) what plans are in store with regard to the construction of new bases outside of the existing Muara base.

    Pointing out that the Royal Brunei Air Force’s (RBAirF) capabilities have yet to hit optimum, the monarch queried the Commander of the RBAirF on how RBAirF can maintain the airspace and, if required, support the RBAF headquarters.

    The Commander of the RBAF Joint Force was asked if the RBAF was capable of rapid deployment in view of the existing RBAF capability conditions, and how such movement plans are formed.

    The Cyber Defence Unit (CDU) at the RBAF, established in 2021, was also discussed, with the monarch enquiring on its developments, in terms of providing human resources and infrastructure, as well as the role the unit plays in preparation for the Eksesais Perisai Kebangsaan (EPK) this year.

    Pointing out that the Joint Doctrine and Warfare Centre (JDWC) was established in 2013, the monarch queried as to what extent the doctrine has been effective in helping the joint movement.

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