Brunei–Indonesia relations

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Brunei–Indonesia relations
Map indicating locations of Brunei and Indonesia



Brunei–Indonesia relations refers to the bilateral relations of the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam and the Republic of Indonesia. Brunei has an embassy in Jakarta, while Indonesia has an embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan. Although they do not share direct land borders, Indonesia and Brunei share the island of Borneo. Since diplomatic relations were established back in 1984, both country enjoys warm and friendly relations. Overall relations between the two countries were progressing well and that both sides continued to enjoy strong ties in a wide spectrum of co-operations; including trade and investment, tourism, agriculture, marine and fisheries, health, defence, transnational crimes, education, youth, culture and people-to-people contacts.[1]

Both Brunei and Indonesia have many common characteristic traits, these include common frames of reference in history, culture and religion. Their national languages; Indonesian language and Malay language are closely related. The majority of the population of both nations were of Austronesian ancestry or of the Malay race, with significant Malay culture shared among them. Both nations are Muslim majority countries, members of ASEAN and APEC, and also members of the Non-aligned Movement, and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Country comparison[edit]

Brunei Brunei Indonesia Indonesia
Population 415,717[2] 255,461,700[3]
Area 5,765  km2 (2,226 sq mi ) 1,904,569  km2 (735,358 sq mi)
Population Density 67.3/km2 (174.4/sq mi) 124.66/km2 (322.87/sq mi)
Time zones 1 3
Capital Bandar Seri Begawan Jakarta
Largest City Bandar Seri Begawan – 50,000 (279,924 Urban) Jakarta – 11,374,022 (30,326,103 Metro)
Government Unitary Islamic absolute monarchy Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Official language Malay (de facto and de jure), English (de jure in some official purposes) Indonesian (de facto and de jure)
Recognised regional languages Brunei Malay, Chinese, Jawi Malay, Tutong, Kedayan, Belait Various
Main religions 67% Islam, 13% Buddhism, 10% Christianity, 10% Other 87.2% Islam, 6.9% Protestantism, 2.9% Catholicism, 1.6% Hinduism, 0.72% Buddhism, 0.05% Confucianism, 0.5% Other
Ethnic groups 66.9% Malay, 15.6% Chinese, 6% Dusun/Iban/Melanau, 11.5% Indian 40.22% Javanese, 15.5% Sundanese, 3.58% Batak, 3.03% Madurese, 2.88% Betawi, 2.73% Minangkabau, 2.69% Bugis, 2.27 Malay, 1.97% Bantenese, 1.74% Banjar, 1.73% Acehnese, 1.67% Balinese, 1.34% Sasak, 1.27 Dayak, 1.2% Chinese, 1.14% Papuan, 1.13% Makassarese, 14.24% Other
GDP (per capita) $50,440 $11,135
GDP (nominal) $17.092 billion $895.577 billion


Relations between Indonesia and Brunei has been established since 14th century or perhaps earlier. The Nagarakretagama Javanese poem dated from 1365 CE mentioned Barune (Brunei) in canto 14 as one of Majapahit overseas vassal states.[4] The relations between Brunei and the rest of Indonesian Archipelago perhaps has been established earlier during the era of Srivijayan Empire.

During European colonial era, Indonesia was fell under Dutch possession as Dutch East Indies, while Brunei together with Singapore and Malaysia was fell under British Empire. In 1960s Indonesia and Brunei indirectly locked in military tension through the Konfrontasi, where Indonesia against the formation of Malaysia and dispatches troops infiltrated Sarawak, North Borneo including Brunei.

Republic of Indonesia established diplomatic relations with Brunei Darussalam on 1 January 1984.[5] Brunei Darussalam was recognised by Jakarta on independence in 1984, with Indonesia dropping any claims on the Sultanate in the process. Indonesia also supported Brunei membership to ASEAN in 1984.

Economy and trade[edit]

Brunei has been a popular destination for Indonesian workers. As per 31 August 2012, there is around 58,000 Indonesian citizens are staying and working in Brunei.[6] Bilateral trade volume in 2011 reached around US$1.1 billion, coupled with around 3,500 Indonesian products in Brunei's market. In line with Brunei's economic diversication policy, the two countries are seeking to enhance co-operation in the field of marine and fisheries, as well as health sector.


  1. ^ Sally Piri and Quratul-ain Bandial (12 April 2013). "Brunei and Indonesia reaffirm bilateral cooperation". The Brunei Times. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  2. ^ The World Factbook Estimate December 2013 -
  3. ^ CBS Estimate May 2015 -
  4. ^ Prapanca, Nagarakretagama, Canto 14
  5. ^ "Brunei-Indonesia Relations". Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Brunei). Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Rabiatul Kamit (31 August 2012). "Indonesia seeks to reinforce relations with Brunei". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 28 May 2013.