The National Service Programme (PKBN) aims to promote patriotism, commitment and resilience among participants, in addition to strengthening their understanding of the constitution and the national philosophy of the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB).
With the number of participants increasing each year since its inception in 2011, many applauded the programme as graduates come out of the three-month training more disciplined and committed. Employers find them reliable, dedicated and competent employees.
For three siblings, having to undergo basic military training, engaging in sports events, going on field trips as well as taking entrepreneurship, MIB, martial arts and several training activities were among the reasons why they joined the programme together in the 9th intake last year.
PKBN graduates Nur Hazirah binti Abdul Hamid along with her two brothers Abdul Hafizuddin and Abdul Hazimuddin joined the programme to keep themselves busy during the holidays with something beneficial to do together, while gaining experience, expanding their knowledge and to be better people.
Speaking to the Bulletin, Nur Hazirah said that it was a valuable and knowledgeable experience of 103 days as they learnt much and participated in activities they had never done before. She added, however, that the hardest part was rarely meeting their family.
Abdul Hafizuddin shared that undergoing physical training made them more robust mentally and physically, as having to wake up early in the morning as their training began with the dawn prayers before breakfast to start their day.
“We were well taken care of, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Before we started training, our body temperature was checked and we were provided with hand sanitiser at the PKBN camp. Training was conducted only in the camp – no activities outside the camp.”
Asked what it was like for the siblings to be in the same intake and having to be competitive with each other, Abdul Hazimuddin said, “Being in the same intake was an advantage to us, because we could motivate each other when we felt demotivated and not feel lonely as we could see each other every day. We did compete and challenge each other, but we also supported each other.”
Following their passing out from the programme, the siblings decided to continue their studies before venturing into the career world.
PKBN graduate Muhammad Muhaiminnur Shah bin Abdul Rahman noted that most of the challenges occurred during training, which they did during the day as well as in the evening.
“At the earlier stage, we trained and brushed up on our discipline such as greeting our instructors. What was most valuable for us is that those who usually wake up late have become used to waking up as early as 4.30am and began to carry out their religious obligations. Those who were mischievous transformed into disciplined, mature individuals,” he said.
Being exposed to basic military training, Muhammad Muhaiminnur plans to look for a part-time job while embarking on another try of the ‘O’ Level examinations, after which he intends to join the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF).
The Bulletin spoke to some of the parents at the recent passing out parade ceremony of the 9th PKBN intake.
Pengiran Haji Asli bin Pengiran Haji Ismail, said PKBN is an important programme that equips participants with life skills and disciplines them with the training throughout the three-month duration, which is well organised and relevant to their future.
He expressed his pride in seeing his daughter Nursyahmina binti Abdullah binti Pengiran Haji Ali successfully complete her training and the changes in her character, just as she had hoped for when she joined the programme.
He added that the significant change he sees in her is she that is more active, vigilant and disciplined.
A retired member of law enforcement himself, Pengiran Haji Asli noted that his daughter was initially sad about being away from the family and adapting to her new environment and new friends, but now she stands proud as a PKBN graduate, going through the challenges of being independent and gaining beneficial knowledge to prepare her for when she steps into the career world.
He expressed his gratitude to the trainers who were committed and dedicated in guiding the trainees throughout the programme and teaching the true meaning of independence.
He hoped the PKBN graduates will continue to practice what they learnt and prove that joining the programme was the best decision they made.
Guardian of PKBN graduate Muhd Akmal bin Abdullah Md Ali, Jafinah binti Haji Abdul Timbul shared the same sentiment and said it was obvious that the trainees including Muhd Akmal transformed into individuals who are independent, dedicated and committed towards community service.
She added that Muhd Akmal, who enrolled in the programme himself, adapted to not only new friends and a new environment, but also the training as he is quite active in several extracurricular activities in school, including being a member of the police cadets and archery.