|Nation of Brunei, Abode of Peace
Location of Brunei (red)
and largest city
|Bandar Seri Begawan
|Ethnic groups (2004)|
|Government||Unitary Islamic absolute
|-||Crown Prince||Al-Muhtadee Billah|
the United Kingdom
|1 January 1984|
|-||Total||5,765 km2 (172nd)
2,226 sq mi
|-||Jul 2013 estimate||415,717 (175th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2012 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2012 estimate|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.855
very high · 30th
|Currency||Brunei dollar (
|Time zone||BDT (UTC+8)|
|Drives on the||left|
|ISO 3166 code||BN|
|a.||^ Under Article 82: "Official language" of the Constitution of Brunei, Malay is the official language.|
|b.||^ Under Article 82: "Official language" of the Constitution of Brunei, English is used in official documents (official documents are bilingual; Malay and English). |
|c.||^ Also 080 from East Malaysia.|
Brunei i//, officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace (Malay: Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi: نڬارا بروني دارالسلام), is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, it is completely surrounded by the state of Sarawak, Malaysia; and it is separated into two parts by the Sarawak district of Limbang. It is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo; the remainder of the island's territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei's population was 408,786 in July 2012.
At the peak of Bruneian Empire, Sultan Bolkiah (reigned 1485–1528) is alleged to have had control over the northern regions of Borneo, including modern-day Sarawak and Sabah, as well as the Sulu archipelago off the northeast tip of Borneo, Seludong (modern-day Manila), and the islands off the northwest tip of Borneo. The maritime state was visited by Spain's Magellan Expedition in 1521 and fought against Spain in 1578's Castille War.
During the 19th century the Bruneian Empire began to decline. The Sultanate ceded Sarawak to James Brooke as a reward for his aid in putting down a rebellion and named him as rajah, and it ceded Sabah to the British North Borneo Chartered Company. In 1888 Brunei became a British protectorate and was assigned a British Resident as colonial manager in 1906. After the Japanese occupation during World War II, in 1959 a new constitution was written. In 1962 a small armed rebellion against the monarchy was ended with the help of the British.
Brunei regained its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 January 1984. Economic growth during the 1970s and 1990s, averaging 56% from 1999 to 2008, has transformed Brunei into a newly industrialised country. It has developed wealth from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields. Brunei has the second-highest Human Development Index among the South East Asia nations after Singapore, and is classified as a developed country. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Brunei is ranked fifth in the world by gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity. The IMF estimated in 2011 that Brunei was one of two countries (the other being Libya) with a public debt at 0% of the national GDP. Forbes also ranks Brunei as the fifth-richest nation out of 182, based on its petroleum and natural gas fields.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 2.1 Early history
- 2.2 British intervention
- 2.3 Discovery of oil
- 2.4 Japanese occupation
- 2.5 Post-World War II
- 2.6 Writing of the Constitution
- 2.7 National development plans
- 2.8 Independence
- 3 Politics and government
- 4 Foreign relations
- 5 Subdivisions
- 6 Geography
- 7 Economy
- 8 Laws and human rights
- 9 Demographics
- 10 Culture
- 11 Media
- 12 Defence
- 13 Infrastructure
- 14 Health
- 15 See also
- 16 Notes and references
- 17 Bibliography
- 18 External links
According to legend, Brunei was founded by Awang Alak Betatar. He moved from Garang, a place in the Temburong District to the Brunei river estuary, discovering Brunei. According to legend, upon landing he exclaimed, Baru nah! (loosely translated as "that's it!" or "there"), from which the name "Brunei" was derived.
It was renamed Barunai in the 14th century, possibly influenced by the Sanskrit word "varuṇ" (वरुण), meaning either "ocean" or the mythological "regent of the ocean". The word "borneo" is of the same origin. In the country's full name, Negara Brunei Darussalam, darussalam (Arabic: دار السلام) means "abode of peace", while negara means "country" in Malay.
In 977 AD, Chinese records began to use the term Po-ni to refer to Borneo. In 1225 a Chinese official, Chua Ju-Kua, reported that Borneo had 100 warships to protect its trade, and that there was a lot of wealth in the kingdom. A 1280 report described Po-ni as controlling large parts of Borneo Island (modern day Sabah and Sarawak, Sulu and some parts of the Philippines).
In the fourteenth century, Po-ni became a vassal state of Majapahit, and had to pay an annual payment of 40 katis of camphor. In 1369 the Sulus attacked Po-ni, looting it of treasure and gold. A fleet from Majapahit succeeded in driving away the Sulus, but Po-ni was left weaker after the attack. A Chinese report of 1371 described Po-ni as poor and totally controlled by Majapahit.
The power of the Sultanate of Brunei was at its peak between the 15th and 17th centuries, with its power extending from northern Borneo to the southern Philippines. By the 16th century, Islam was firmly rooted in Brunei, and the country had built one of its biggest mosques. In 1578, Alonso Beltrán, a Spanish traveler, described it as being five stories tall and built on the water.
War with Spain and decline
European influence gradually brought an end to the regional power, as Brunei entered a period of decline compounded by internal strife over royal succession. Piracy was also detrimental to the kingdom. Spain declared war in 1578, attacking and capturing Brunei's capital at the time, Kota Batu. This was achieved as a result in part of the assistance rendered to them by two Bruneian noblemen, Pengiran Seri Lela and Pengiran Seri Ratna. The former had travelled to Manila, then the centre of the Spanish colony, to offer Brunei as a tributary to Spain for help to recover the throne usurped by his brother, Saiful Rijal. The Spanish agreed that if they succeeded in conquering Brunei, Pengiran Seri Lela would be appointed as the Sultan, while Pengiran Seri Ratna would be the new Bendahara.
In March 1578, the Spanish fleet, led by De Sande, acting as Capitán-General, started from Manila for Brunei. The expedition consisted of 400 Spaniards, 1,500 Filipino natives and 300 Borneans. The campaign was one of many, which also included action in Mindanao and Sulu.
The Spanish invaded the capital on 16 April 1578, with the help of Pengiran Seri Lela and Pengiran Seri Ratna. The Sultan Saiful Rijal and Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Abdul Kahar were forced to flee to Meragang then to Jerudong. In Jerudong, they made plans to chase the conquering army away from Brunei. Suffering high fatalities due to a cholera or dysentery outbreak. the Spanish decided to abandon Brunei and returned to Manila on 26 June 1578, after 72 days. Before doing so, they burned the mosque, a high structure with a five-tier roof.
Pengiran Seri Lela died in August–September 1578, probably from the same illness suffered by his Spanish allies. There was suspicion he could have been poisoned by the ruling Sultan. Seri Lela's daughter had left with the Spanish. She married a Christian Tagalog, named Agustín de Legazpi de Tondo.
The local Brunei accounts differ greatly from the generally accepted view of events. What was called the Castilian War was seen as a heroic episode, with the Spaniards being driven out by Bendahara Sakam, purportedly a brother of the ruling Sultan, and a thousand native warriors. Most historians consider this to be a folk-hero account, which probably developed decades or centuries after. The country suffered a civil war from 1660 to 1673.
The British have intervened in the affairs of Brunei on several occasions. Britain attacked Brunei in July 1846 due to internal conflicts over who was the rightful Sultan.
In the 1880s, the decline of the Bruneian Empire continued. The Sultan granted land (now Sarawak) to James Brooke, who had helped him quell a rebellion and allowed him to establish the Kingdom of Sarawak. Over time, Brooke and his nephews (who succeeded him) leased or annexed more land. Brunei lost much of its territory to him and his dynasty, known as the White Rajahs.
Sultan Hashim Jalilul Alam Aqamaddin appealed to the British to stop further encroachment by the Brookes. The "Treaty of Protection" was negotiated by Sir Hugh Low and signed into effect on 17 September 1888. The treaty said that the Sultan "could not cede or lease any territory to foreign powers without British consent"; it provided Britain's effective control over Brunei's external affairs, making it a British protectorate (which continued until 1984). But, when the Kingdom of Sarawak annexed Brunei's Pandaruan district in 1890, the British did not take any action to stop it. They did not regard either Brunei or the Kingdom of Sarawak as 'foreign' (per the Treaty of Protection). This final annexation by Sarawak left Brunei with its current small land mass and separation into two parts.
British Residents were introduced in Brunei under the Supplementary Protectorate Agreement in 1906. The Residents were to advise the Sultan on all matters of administration. Over time, the Resident assumed more executive control than the Sultan. The Residential system ended in 1959.
Discovery of oil
Petroleum was discovered in 1929 after several fruitless attempts. Two men, F.F. Marriot and T.G. Cochrane, smelled oil near the Seria river in late 1926. They informed a geophysicist, who conducted a survey there. In 1927, gas seepages were reported in the area. Seria Well Number One (S-1) was drilled on 12 July 1928. Oil was struck at 297 metres (974 ft) on 5 April 1929. Seria Well Number 2 was drilled on 19 August 1929, and, as of 2009, continues to produce oil. Oil production was increased considerably in the 1930s with the development of more oil fields. In 1940, oil production was at more than six million barrels. The British Malayan Petroleum Company (now Brunei Shell Petroleum Company) was formed on 22 July 1922. The first offshore well was drilled in 1957. Oil and natural gas have been the basis of Brunei's development and wealth since the late 20th century.
The Japanese invaded Brunei on 16 December 1941, eight days after their attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States Navy. They landed 10,000 troops of the Kawaguchi Detachment from Cam Ranh Bay at Kuala Belait. After six days fighting, they occupied the entire country. The only Allied troops in the area were the 2nd Battalion of the 15th Punjab Regiment based at Kuching, Sarawak.
Once the Japanese occupied Brunei, they made an agreement with Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin over governing the country. Inche Ibrahim (known later as Pehin Datu Perdana Menteri Dato Laila Utama Awang Haji Ibrahim), a former Secretary to the British Resident, Ernest Edgar Pengilly, was appointed Chief Administrative Officer under the Japanese Governor. The Japanese had proposed that Pengilly retain his position under their administration, but he declined. Both he and other British nationals still in Brunei were interned by the Japanese at Batu Lintang camp in Sarawak. While the British officials were under Japanese guard, Ibrahim made a point of personally shaking each one by the hand and wishing him well.
The Sultan retained his throne and was given a pension and honours by the Japanese. During the later part of the occupation, he resided at Tantuya, Limbang and had little to do with the Japanese. Most of the Malay government officers were retained by the Japanese. Brunei's administration was reorganised into five prefectures, which included British North Borneo. The Prefectures included Baram, Labuan, Lawas, and Limbang. Ibrahim hid numerous significant government documents from the Japanese during the occupation. Pengiran Yusuf (later YAM Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Haji Mohd Yusuf), along with other Bruneians, was sent to Japan for training. Although in the area the day of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Yusuf survived.
The British had anticipated a Japanese attack, but lacked the resources to defend the area because of their engagement in the war in Europe. The troops from the Punjab Regiment filled in the Seria oilfield oilwells with concrete in September 1941 to deny the Japanese their use. The remaining equipment and installations were destroyed when the Japanese invaded Malaya. By the end of the war, 16 wells at Miri and Seria had been restarted, with production reaching about half the pre-war level. Coal production at Muara was also recommenced, but with little success.
During the occupation, the Japanese had their language taught in schools, and Government officers were required to learn Japanese. The local currency was replaced by what was to become known as duit pisang(banana money). From 1943 hyper-inflation destroyed the currency's value and, at the end of the war, this currency was worthless. Allied attacks on shipping eventually caused trade to cease. Food and medicine fell into short supply, and the population suffered famine and disease.
The airport runway was constructed by the Japanese during the occupation, and in 1943 Japanese naval units were based in Brunei Bay and Labuan. The naval base was destroyed by Allied bombing, but the airport runway survived. The facility was developed as a public airport. In 1944 the Allies began a bombing campaign against the occupying Japanese, which destroyed much of the town and Kuala Belait, but missed Kampong Ayer.
On 10 June 1945 the Australian 9th Division landed at Muara under Operation Oboe Six to recapture Borneo from the Japanese. They were supported by American air and naval units. Brunei town was bombed extensively and recaptured after three days of heavy fighting. Many buildings were destroyed, including the Mosque. The Japanese forces in Brunei, Borneo, and Sarawak, under Lieutenant-General Masao Baba, formally surrendered at Labuan on 10 September 1945. The British Military Administration took over from the Japanese and remained until July 1946.
Post-World War II
After World War II, a new government was formed in Brunei under the British Military Administration (BMA). It consisted mainly of Australian officers and servicemen. The administration of Brunei was passed to the Civil Administration on 6 July 1945. The Brunei State Council was also revived that year. The BMA was tasked to revive the Bruneian economy, which was extensively damaged by the Japanese during their occupation. They had to put out the fires on the wells of Seria, which had been set by the Japanese prior to their defeat.
Before 1941, the Governor of the Straits Settlements, based in Singapore, was responsible for the duties of British High Commissioner for Brunei, Sarawak, and North Borneo (now Sabah). The first British High Commissioner for Brunei was the Governor of Sarawak, Sir Charles Ardon Clarke. The Barisan Pemuda ("Youth Movement") (abbreviated as BARIP) was the first political party to be formed in Brunei, on 12 April 1946. The party intended to "preserve the sovereignty of the Sultan and the country, and to defend the rights of the Malays". BARIP also contributed to the composition of the country’s National Anthem. The party was dissolved in 1948 due to inactivity.
In 1959, a new constitution was written declaring Brunei a self-governing state, while its foreign affairs, security, and defense remained the responsibility of the United Kingdom. A small rebellion erupted against the monarchy in 1962, which was suppressed with help of the UK. Known as the Brunei Revolt, it contributed to the failure to create the North Borneo Federation. The rebellion partially affected Brunei's decision to opt out of the Malaysian Federation.
Brunei gained its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 January 1984. The official National Day, which celebrates the country's independence, is held by tradition on 23 February.
Writing of the Constitution
In July 1953, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III formed a seven-member committee named Tujuh Serangkai, to find out the citizens’ views regarding a written constitution for Brunei. In May 1954, the Sultan, Resident and High Commissioner met to discuss the findings of the committee. They agreed to authorise the drafting of a constitution. In March 1959 Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III led a delegation to London to discuss the proposed Constitution. The British delegation was led by Sir Alan Lennox-Boyd, Secretary of State for the Colonies. The British Government later accepted the draft constitution.
On 29 September 1959, the Constitution Agreement was signed in Bandar Seri Begawan. The agreement was signed by Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III and Sir Robert Scott, the Commissioner-General for Southeast Asia. It included the following provisions:
- The Sultan was made the Supreme Head of State.
- Brunei was responsible for its internal administration.
- The British Government was responsible for foreign and defence affairs only.
- The post of Resident was abolished and replaced by a British High Commissioner.
Five councils were set up:
- The Executive Council
- The Legislative Council of Brunei
- The Privy Council
- The Council of Succession
- The State Religious Council
National development plans
A series of National Development Plans was initiated by the 28th Sultan of Brunei, Omar Ali Saifuddien III.
The first was introduced in 1953. A total sum of B$100 million was approved by the Brunei State Council for the plan. E.R. Bevington, from the Colonial Office in Fiji, was appointed to implement it. A $US14 million Gas Plant was built under the plan. In 1954, survey and exploration work were undertaken by the Brunei Shell Petroleum on both offshore and onshore fields. By 1956, production reached 114,700 bpd.
The plan also aided the development of public education. By 1958, expenditure on education totaled at $4 million. Communications were improved, as new roads were built and reconstruction at Berakas Airport was completed in 1954.
The second National Development Plan was launched in 1962. A major oil and gas field was discovered in 1963, with this discovery, Liquefied Natural Gas became important. Developments in the oil and gas sector have continued, and oil production has steadily increased since then. The plan also promoted the production of meat and eggs for consumption by citizens. The fishing industry increased its output by 25% throughout the course of the plan. The deepwater port at Muara was also constructed during this period. Power requirements were met, and studies were made to provide electricity to rural areas. Efforts were made to eradicate malaria, an endemic disease in the region, with the help of the World Health Organisation. Malaria cases were reduced from 300 cases in 1953 to only 66 cases in 1959. The death rate was reduced from 20 per thousand in 1947 to 11.3 per thousand in 1953. Infectious disease has been prevented by public sanitation and improvement of drainage, and the provision of piped pure water to the population.
On 14 November 1971, His Royal Highness Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, which then used the title due to it being a protectorate of the UK, left for London to discuss matters regarding the amendments to the 1959 Constitution. A new agreement was signed on 23 November 1971 with the British representative being Anthony Henry Fanshawe Royle.
Under this agreement, the following terms were agreed upon -
- Brunei was granted full internal self - government
- The UK would still be responsible for external affairs and defence.
- Brunei and the UK agreed to share the responsibility for security and defence.
This agreement also caused Gurkha units to be deployed in Brunei, where they remain up to this day.
Anglo-Brunei Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation (1979)
On 7 January 1979, another treaty was signed between Brunei and the UK. It was signed with Lord Goronwy-Roberts being the representative of the UK. This agreement granted Brunei to take over international responsibilities as an independent nation. Britain agreed to assist Brunei in diplomatical matters.
In May 1983, it was announced by the UK that the date of independence of Brunei would be 1 January 1984.
In 31 December 1983, a mass gathering was held on main mosques on all four of the districts of the country.
At midnight, on 1 January 1984, the Proclamation of Independence was read by His Majesty Hassanal Bolkiah, which is now addressed in this manner.
Politics and government
The political system in the country is governed by the constitution and the national tradition of the Malay Islamic Monarchy, the concept of Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB). The three components of MIB cover Malay culture, Islamic religion, and the political framework under the monarchy. It has a legal system based on English common law, although Islamic shariah law supersedes this in some cases.
Under Brunei's 1959 constitution, His Majesty Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah is the head of state with full executive authority. Since 1962, this authority has included emergency powers, which are renewed every two years. The country has been under hypothetical martial law since the Brunei Revolt of 1962. Hassanal Bolkiah also serves as the state's Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Defence Minister. The Royal family retains a venerated status within the country. The country has a parliament.
Until 1979, Brunei's foreign relations were managed by the UK government. After that, they were handled by the Brunei Diplomatic Service. After independence in 1984, this Service was upgraded to ministerial level and is now known as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Officially, Brunei's foreign policy is as follows:
- Mutual respect of others' territorial sovereignty, integrity and independence;
- The maintenance of friendly relations among nations;
- Non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries; and
- The maintenance and the promotion of peace, security and stability in the region.
With its traditional ties with the United Kingdom, Brunei became the 49th member of the Commonwealth immediately on the day of its independence on 1 January 1984. As one of its first initiatives toward improved regional relations, Brunei joined ASEAN on 7 January 1984, becoming the sixth member. To achieve recognition of its sovereignty and independence, it joined the United Nations as a full member on 21 September on that same year.
As an Islamic country, Brunei became a full member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) in January 1984 at the Fourth Islamic Summit held in Morocco.
After its accession to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) in 1989, Brunei hosted the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in November 2000 and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in July 2002. Brunei became a founding member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1 January 1995, and is a major player in BIMP-EAGA, which was formed during the Inaugural Ministers' Meeting in Davao, Philippines on 24 March 1994.
Brunei shares a close relationship with the Philippines and Singapore. In April 2009, Brunei and the Philippines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that seeks to strengthen the bilateral cooperation of the two countries in the fields of agriculture and farm-related trade and investments.
Brunei is one of many nations to lay claim to some of the disputed Spratly Islands. The status of Limbang as part of Sarawak has been disputed by Brunei since the area was first annexed in 1890. The issue was reportedly settled in 2009, with Brunei agreeing to accept the border in exchange for Malaysia giving up claims to oil fields in Bruneian waters. The Brunei government denies this and says that their claim on Limbang was never dropped.
|No.||District||Capital||Population (2011 census)||Area (km2)|
|2.||Brunei-Muara||Bandar Seri Begawan||279,924||571|
The daerah of Brunei-Maura includes Brunei's capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, whose suburbs dominate fifteen of the eighteen mukims in this daerah.
Over 90% of Brunei's total population lives in 15 of the 38 mukims:
|1||Sengkurong||62,400||Jerudong and Bandar Seri Begawan||Brunei-Muara|
|2||Gadong B||59,610||Bandar Seri Begawan||Brunei-Muara|
|3||Berakas A||57,500||Bandar Seri Begawan||Brunei-Muara|
|4||Kuala Belait||35,500||Belait town||Belait|
|6||Berakas B||23,400||Bandar Seri Begawan||Brunei-Muara|
|7||Sungai Liang||18,100||small kampongs (villages)||Belait|
|8||Pengkalan Batu||approx. 15,000||small kampongs||Brunei-Muara|
|9||Kilanas||approx. 14,000||Bandar Seri Begawan||Brunei-Muara|
|10||Kota Batu||12,600||Bandar Seri Begawan||Brunei-Muara|
|11||Pekan Tutong||12,100||Tutong Town||Tutong|
|13||Serasa||approx. 10,000||Muara Town||Brunei-Muara|
|14||Kianggeh||8,540||Bandar Seri Begawan||Brunei-Muara|
|15||Burong Pinggai Ayer||approx. 8,200||Bandar Seri Begawan||Brunei-Muara|
Brunei is a southeast Asian country consisting of two unconnected parts with a total area of 5,765 square kilometres (2,226 sq mi) on the island of Borneo. It has 161 kilometres (100 mi) of coastline next to the South China sea, and it shares a 381 km (237 mi) border with Malaysia. It has 500 square kilometres (193 sq mi) of territorial waters, and a 200-nautical-mile (370 km; 230 mi) exclusive economic zone.
About 97% of the population lives in the larger western part (Belait, Tutong, and Brunei-Muara), while only about 10,000 people live in the mountainous eastern part (Temburong District). The total population of Brunei is approximately 408,000 as of July 2010[update], of which around 150,000 live in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan. Other major towns are the port town of Muara, the oil-producing town of Seria and its neighbouring town, Kuala Belait. In Belait District, the Panaga area is home to large numbers of Europeans expatriates, due to Royal Dutch Shell and British Army housing, and several recreational facilities are located there.
The climate of Brunei is tropical equatorial. The average annual temperature is 26.1 °C (79.0 °F), with the April–May average of 24.7 °C (76.5 °F) and the October–December average of 23.8 °C (74.8 °F).
|Mean maximum (°C)||25.8||24.8||27.2||27.1||27.5||27.1||28.4||28.3||28.0||26.5||24.4||24.0||
|Mean minimum (°C)||22.1||22.0||22.5||23.9||23.9||24.7||24.1||24.3||25.3||23.1||22.2||23.6||
|Average rainfall (mm)||277.7||138.3||113.0||200.3||239.0||214.2||228.8||215.8||257.7||319.9||329.4||343.5||
This small, wealthy economy is a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition. Crude oil and natural gas production account for about 90% of its GDP. About 167,000 barrels (26,600 m3) of oil are produced every day, making Brunei the fourth-largest producer of oil in Southeast Asia. It also produces approximately 25.3 million cubic metres (890×106 cu ft) of liquified natural gas per day, making Brunei the ninth-largest exporter of the substance in the world.
Substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic production. Most of these investments are made by the Brunei Investment Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Finance. The government provides for all medical services, and subsidises rice and housing.
The national air carrier, Royal Brunei Airlines, is trying to develop Brunei as a modest hub for international travel between Europe and Australia/New Zealand. Central to this strategy is the position that the airline maintains at London Heathrow Airport. It holds a daily slot at the highly capacity-controlled airport, which it serves from Bandar Seri Begawan via Dubai. The airline also has services to major Asian destinations including Shanghai, Bangkok, Singapore and Manila.
Brunei depends heavily on imports such as agricultural products (e.g. rice, food products, livestock, etc.), motorcars and electrical products from other countries. Brunei imports 60% of its food requirements, of that amount, around 75% come from the ASEAN countries.
Brunei's leaders are very concerned that steadily increased integration in the world economy will undermine internal social cohesion. But, it has become a more prominent player by serving as chairman for the 2000 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Leaders plan to upgrade the labour force, reduce unemployment, which currently stands at 6%; strengthen the banking and tourism sectors, and, in general, broaden the economic base.
It is promoting food self-sufficiency. Brunei renamed its Brunei Darussalam Rice 1 as Laila Rice during the launch of the "Padi Planting Towards Achieving Self-Sufficiency of Rice Production in Brunei Darussalam" ceremony at the Wasan padi fields in April 2009. In August 2009, the Royal Family reaped the first few Laila padi stalks, after years of attempts to boost local rice production, a goal first articulated about half a century ago. In July 2009 Brunei launched its national halal branding scheme, Brunei Halal, with a goal to export to foreign markets.
Laws and human rights
Brunei has numerous courts in its judicial branch. The highest court is the Supreme Court, which consists of the Court of Appeal and High Court. Both of these have a chief justice and two judges.
The government has made efforts to protect women's rights. The law prohibits sexual harassment and stipulates that whoever assaults or uses criminal force, intending thereby to outrage or knowing it is likely to outrage the modesty of a person, shall be punished with imprisonment for as much as five years and caning. The law stipulates imprisonment of up to 30 years, and caning with not fewer than 12 strokes for rape. The law does not criminalise spousal rape; it explicitly states that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, as long as she is not under 13 years of age, is not rape. Protections against sexual assault by a spouse are provided under the amended Islamic Family Law Order 2010 and Married Women Act Order 2010. The penalty for breaching a protection order is a fine not exceeding BN$2,000 ($1,538) or imprisonment not exceeding six months. During the year 23 rape cases were reported; at year's end police were investigating 11 and had forwarded 10 to the Attorney General Chambers.
There is no specific domestic violence law, but arrests have been made in domestic violence cases under the Women and Girls Protection Act. The police investigate domestic violence only in response to a report by a victim. The police were generally responsive in the investigation of such cases. During the year a total of 62 cases of spousal dispute abuse reported; at year's end, 55 cases were under investigation, and eight had been forwarded to the Attorney General Chambers. The criminal penalty for a minor domestic assault is one to two weeks in jail and a fine. An assault resulting in serious injury is punishable by caning and a longer prison sentence.
A special unit staffed by female officers has been established within the police department to investigate domestic abuse and child abuse complaints. A hotline was available for persons to report domestic violence. The Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sport's Department of Community Development provides counseling for women and their spouses. Based on individual circumstances, some female and minor victims were placed in protective custody while waiting for their cases to be brought to court. Islamic courts staffed by male and female officials offered counseling to married couples in domestic violence cases. Officials did not encourage wives to reconcile with flagrantly abusive spouses. Islamic courts recognise assault as grounds for divorce.
Couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children, and have access to contraceptive devices and methods through the government and private clinics. According to information gathered by the UN, in 2008 the maternal mortality rate was an estimated 21 deaths per 100,000 live births. Citizens enjoy free medical and health care, including skilled attendance during childbirth, prenatal care, and essential obstetric and postpartum care. Women had equal access to diagnostic and treatment facilities for sexually transmitted diseases. Women had equal access to HIV treatment and counseling, as well as follow-up treatment.
In accordance with the government's interpretation of Qur'anic precepts, Muslim women have rights similar to those of Muslim men in areas such as divorce and child custody. Islamic law requires that males receive twice the inheritance of women. Civil law permits female citizens to pass their nationality on to their children and to own property and other assets, including business properties. Women with permanent positions in the government can now apply for travel allowances for their children. They cannot do so for husbands working in the private sector. With this exception, they receive the same allowance privileges as their college-educated male counterparts. According to government statistics, women made up 57 percent of the civil service force and held 28 percent of senior management posts. Women are not discriminated against in access to employment and business.
Citizenship is derived through one's parents rather than through birth within the country's territory. Parents with stateless status are required to apply for a special pass for a child born in the country; failure to register a child may make it difficult to enroll the child in school. By law sexual intercourse with a female under 14 years of age constitutes rape and is punishable by imprisonment for not less than eight years and not more than thirty years and not less than twelve strokes of the cane. The intent of the law is to protect girls from exploitation through prostitution and "other immoral purposes" including pornography.
Male and female homosexuality is illegal in Brunei and Brunei has passed a law due to come into force on 22 April 2014 allowing the death penalty to be administered by stoning for homosexual acts given there is enough evidence pointing to the action. Homosexuality has never been accepted in Islam and is considered to be a big sin. It has been acknowledged as a crime in Brunei with the introduction of the Sharia law.
The population of Brunei in July 2013 was 415,717 of which 76% live in urban areas. The rate of urbanization is estimated at 2.13% per year from 2010 - 2015. The average life expectancy is 77.7 years. In 2004, 66.3% of the population were Malay, 11.2% are Chinese, 3.4% are indigenous, with smaller groups making up the rest.
The official language of Brunei is Malay. The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports supports for a lingual movement aimed at the increased use of the language in Brunei[why?]. The principal spoken language is Melayu Brunei (Brunei Malay). Brunei Malay is rather divergent from standard Malay and the rest of the Malay dialects, being about 84% cognate with standard Malay, and is mostly mutually unintelligible with it. English and Chinese are also widely spoken, English is also used in business, as a working language, and as the language of instruction from primary to tertiary education, and there is a relatively large expatriate community. Other languages spoken include Kedayan, Tutong, Murut, Dusun and Iban.
Islam is the official religion of Brunei, and two-thirds of the population adheres to Islam. Other faiths practised are Buddhism (13%, mainly by the Chinese) and Christianity (10%). Freethinkers, mostly Chinese, form about 7% of the population. Although most of them practise some form of religion with elements of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, they prefer to present themselves as having practised no religion officially, hence labelled as atheists in official censuses. Followers of indigenous religions are about 2% of the population. More recently though, the Sultan has announced strict penalties for those involved in homosexual relationships and those who leave Islam.
The culture of Brunei is predominantly Malay (reflecting its ethnicity), with heavy influences from Islam, but is seen as much more conservative than Indonesia and Malaysia. Influences to Bruneian culture come from the Malay cultures of the Malay Archipelago. Four periods of cultural influence have occurred, animist, Hindu, Islamic, and Western. Islam had a very strong influence, and was adopted as Brunei's ideology and philosophy. Brunei's official main language is the Malay language but the English language is also widely spoken as it is considered a s a compulsory subject in majority of the schools. 
As a Sharia country, the sale and public consumption of alcohol is banned. Non-Muslims are allowed to bring in a limited amount of alcohol from their point of embarkation overseas for their own private consumption.
Media in Brunei are said to be pro-government. The country has been given "Not Free" status by Freedom House; press criticism of the government and monarchy is rare. Nonetheless, the press is not overtly hostile toward alternative viewpoints and is not restricted to publishing only articles regarding the government. The government allowed a printing and publishing company, Brunei Press PLC, to form in 1953. The company continues to print the English daily Borneo Bulletin. This paper began as a weekly community paper and became a daily in 1990 Apart from The Borneo Bulletin, there is also the Media Permata and Pelita Brunei, the local Malay newspapers which are circulated daily. The Brunei Times is another English independent newspaper published in Brunei since 2006.
The Brunei government owns and operates six television channels with the introduction of digital TV using DVB-T (RTB 1, RTB 2, RTB 3 (HD), RTB 4, RTB 5 and RTB New Media (Game portal) and five radio stations (National FM, Pilihan FM, Nur Islam FM, Harmony FM and Pelangi FM). A private company has made cable television available (Astro-Kristal) as well as one private radio station, Kristal FM. It also has an online campus radio station, UBD FM that streams from its first university, Universiti Brunei Darussalam'
Brunei maintains three infantry battalions stationed around the country. The Brunei navy has several "Ijtihad"-class patrol boats purchased from a German manufacturer. The United Kingdom also maintains a base in Seria, the centre of the oil industry in Brunei. A Gurkha battalion consisting of 1,500 personnel is stationed there. United Kingdom military personnel are stationed there under a defence agreement signed between the two countries.
A Bell 212 operated by the air force crashed in Kuala Belait on 20 July 2012 with the loss of 12 of the 14 crew on board. The cause of the accident has yet to be ascertained. The crash is the worst aviation incident in the history of Brunei.
The population centres in the country are linked by a network of 2,800 kilometres (1,700 mi) of road. The 135-kilometre (84 mi) highway from Muara Town to Kuala Belait is being upgraded to a dual carriageway.
Brunei is accessible by air, sea, and land transport. Brunei International Airport is the main entry point to the country. Royal Brunei Airlines is the national carrier. There is another airfield, the Anduki Airfield, located in Seria. The ferry terminal at Muara services regular connections to Labuan (Malaysia). Speedboats provide passenger and goods transportation to the Temburong district. The main highway running across Brunei is the Tutong-Muara Highway. The country's road network is well developed. Brunei has one main sea port located at Muara.
The airport in Brunei is currently being extensively upgraded. Changi Airport International is the consultant working on this modernisation, which planned cost is currently $150 million. This project is slated to add 14,000 square metres (150,000 sq ft) of new floorspace and includes a new terminal and arrival hall. With the completion of the this project, the annual passenger capacity of the airport is expected to double from 1.5 to 3 million.
With one private car for every 2.09 persons, Brunei has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world. This has been attributed to the absence of a comprehensive transport system, low import tax and low unleaded petrol price of B$0.53 per litre.
A new 30-kilometre (19 mi) roadway connecting the Muara and Temburong districts of Brunei is slated to be completed in 2018. Fourteen kilometres (9 mi) of this roadway would be crossing the Brunei Bay.
There are four government run hospitals in Brunei, one for every district. There are also 16 health centres and 10 health clinics.
Healthcare in Brunei is charged at B$1 per consultation for citizens. A health centre run by Brunei Shell Petroleum is located in Panaga. For medical assistance not available in the country, citizens are sent overseas at the government's expense. In the period of 2011–12, 327 patients were treated in Malaysia and Singapore at the cost to the government of $12 million.
7.5% of the population are obese, the highest prevalence rate in ASEAN. Also, studies by the Ministry of Health show that at least 20% of schoolchildren in Brunei are either overweight or obese.
The largest hospital in Brunei is Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital (RIPAS) hospital, which has 538 beds, is situated in the country's capital Bandar Seri Begawan. There are two private medical centres, Gleneagles JPMC Sdn Bhd . and Jerudong Park Medical Centre. The Health Promotion Centre opened in November 2008 and serves to educate the public on the importance of having a healthy lifestyle.
There is currently no medical school in Brunei, and Bruneians wishing to study to become doctors must attend university overseas. However, the Institute of Medicines had been introduced at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam and a new building has been built for the faculty. The building, including research lab facilities, was completed in 2009. There has been a School of Nursing since 1951. Fifty-eight nurse managers were appointed in RIPAS to improve service and provide better medical care. In December 2008, The nursing college merged with the Institute of Medicines at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam to produce more nurses and midwives. It is now called the PAPRSB (Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa'datul Bolkiah) Institute of Health Sciences.
- Outline of Brunei
- Astronomy in Brunei
- Communications in Brunei
- Girl Guides Association of Brunei Darussalam
- Hospitals in Brunei
- Istana Nurul Iman (Sultan's Palace)
- List of Brunei-related topics
- List of Sunni Muslim dynasties
- Media of Brunei
- Music of Brunei
- Persekutuan Pengakap Negara Brunei Darussalam - Scouting in Brunei
- Sport in Brunei
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- General information
- Brunei entry at The World Factbook
- Brunei from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- Brunei at DMOZ
- Brunei profile from the BBC News
- Brunei at Encyclopædia Britannica
- Wikimedia Atlas of Brunei
- Key Development Forecasts for Brunei from International Futures