"There's no way that we can replicate (in Singapore) the conditions that we find in the Temburong jungle, which provides a very important training (environment) for our soldiers," she said in an interview with media on 14 May.
"That's why I am very grateful and…Singapore truly appreciates Brunei – in particular His Majesty – for allowing us to train our soldiers in Temburong. (It is) a very good example of the strong defence relationship that (our countries) have."
She made this point after visiting Temburong, Brunei, where officer cadets were undergoing jungle confidence and survival training.
Madam Halimah was in Brunei from 11 to 14 May for her inaugural overseas state visit, at the invitation of the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, His Majesty Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah. She was accompanied by Senior Minister of State for Defence Mohamad Maliki bin Osman, Chief of Army Brigadier-General Goh Si Hou and other senior SAF officers.
As part of the trip, she also visited the Defence Academy Royal Brunei Armed Forces.
At Temburong, she witnessed the cadets crossing a water obstacle using a single rope bridge while in full combat gear.
She then joined them in a lesson on jungle survival where they were taught how to live off the land by identifying edible plants and fruits.
Madam Halimah also spent some time speaking to the troops, and encouraged them to put their best effort into their training,
"This (the jungle and confidence training) is a very important process for you – building up discipline, resilience, survival skills, teamwork… It's not just going to be important to your career in the SAF…but it's also going to be important for you throughout your life."
She added: "I think this is a wonderful (training) opportunity for you, and I'm sure that you will make very good officers (and)…soldiers when you come back to Singapore."
The cadets shared the same sentiment. Said Officer Cadet Trainee (OCT) Donavan See: "Terrain-wise, we really feel like we are training in a jungle here – with the denseness of the forest and steepness (of the ground).
The 19-year-old added: "We cannot get this kind of training in Singapore. (The jungle training) here feels very real, and I'm glad we can experience this."
Even though the jungle environment there was new to the cadets, the progressive training they underwent in Singapore before arriving in Brunei prepared them for the gruelling training.
"We did conditioning training for acclimatisation and physical exertion," OCT Ashruff bin Mohammed Ibrahim, 20, explained. "We did a lot of route marches with incremental loads. Since the terrain in Singapore is flatter, we gradually increased our load to get used (to the climbing)."
As for OCT Jai Prakash Gameran, he felt that having the right mindset was key to conquering challenging training. Said the 21-year-old: "You should take it positively in that you go through something very difficult and you come out on top of it.
"And understand that OCS (Officer Cadet School) is giving you the chance to prove to yourself mentally and physically that you can overcome challenges that you never thought you could."