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Malaysia's own Fort Knox


MILITARY LEGACY:This seaside resort town is also home to army camps and training facilities

LIKE the renowned army town of Fort Knox in the United States, Port Dickson is where army personnel undergo their basic training, cadetship and follow-up training.

Many servicemen have also settled here after retirement.

The signboards along the coastal road indicate the army camps of Sebatang Karah, Segenting, Si Rusa and Sunggala.

Those who enter Port Dickson through the Seremban-Port Dickson highway will be greeted by the sight of the archway, followed by a decommissioned Caribou aircraft and an armoured vehicle situated outside Sunggala Camp's Royal Armoured Corps Museum.

Sunggala Camp is home to the Second Regiment of the Royal Armoured Corps.

Port Dickson, named after a senior official of the Federated Malay States, Sir John Frederick Dickson, has been synonymous with the army ever since the inception of the Malay Regiment's first experimental company on March 1, 1933.

The military legacy continues till today and, in 2009, the town was officially declared as an army town.

After the first experimental company, Port Dickson has literally churned out more than 325,000 servicemen, many of whom have etched their names in the nation's history, including the late Lt Adnan Saidi, who died while defending the nation from the Japanese invaders during World War II.

Over the years, Port Dickson has benefited tremendously from the establishment of military training facilities and the activities of Malaysian armed forces.

It is currently home to nine training centres and five army divisions, comprising 10,439 (as of March 1, 2012) officers and servicemen.

According to Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, the Port Dickson Municipal Council has been working out ways to further develop the town based on two of its most important attributes - as a beach resort and an army town.

"It is hoped that the army attributes will help draw more visitors here.

"We will ensure that Port Dickson lives up to its reputation as the national beach resort and army town," said Mohamad Hasan after handing over the town's keys to Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who came here recently, in a symbolic gesture marking the launch of the Army Town project.

Ahmad Zahid noted that the planning and infrastructure development as well as the armed forces activities in Port Dickson would keep in mind the public interest.

"Port Dickson's tourism calendar will include armed forces events such as military tattoos, passing out parades, barrack stays and the armed forces day parade," he remarked.

Ahmad Zahid was confident that the state government and the army would contribute numerous ideas, experience and expertise to organise activities that would highlight the army town's attractions and draw tourists.

Meanwhile, the army chief General Datuk Zulkifli Zainal Abidin announced that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had allocated RM5 million to building a swimming pool that can be used for military training as well as public recreation in Port Dickson.

In addition, the Army College will be restarted in Port Dickson to boost its army-town image.

Port Dickson, now a weekend retreat, will thus continue with its "army-friendly, tourist-friendly and people-friendly" image. -- Bernama

There is a military character at the bus stop in Bandar Tentera Darat. Pix by Iqmal Haqim Rosman

Signage of Army Museum Port Dickson at Bandar Tentera Darat.

A family enjoying a dip in the sea at Pantai Tanjung Biru.

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