Brunei's profile as a nation

a map of Brunei

Due to its abundant oil and gas reserves, the tiny nation of Brunei has among the highest standards of living in the world.

The Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and other members of the royal family are extremely wealthy individuals. Bruneians don't pay income taxes. Regularly, the Sultan distributes housing and land parcels to deserving citizens under various government programs.

Since 1888, Brunei has been a British protectorate, and in 1963, it was the only Malay state to decide against joining the union that would later become Malaysia. 1984 was a relatively late year for full independence.

Brunei adopted strict Islamic Sharia law in 2014, making it the first nation in East Asia to do so. This law permits penalties like stoning for adultery and amputation for theft. A law mandating death by stoning for adultery and gay sex in certain situations was fully implemented in 2019 in this country.

The Sultan declared that the death penalty would be suspended, as it had been in common law cases for more than 20 years, in response to widespread condemnation.

  • with capital letters. Broad Seri Begawan.
  • Area:. 5,765 sq km.
  • Population:. 460,300.
  • Language:. Malay.
  • Typical lifespan: 73 years for men and 75 years for women.

Hassanal Bolkiah was the Brunei Sultan.

Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Hassanal Bolkiah, at the EU-Asean summit in Brussels, December 2022

One of the few absolute monarchs still in power, Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, has been in power for the longest time in history. After his father, Sir Haji Omar Ali Saifuddin, abdicated the throne in August 1968, he was crowned.

In 1991, he introduced a political philosophy known as Malay Muslim Monarchy, which portrayed the monarch as the defender of the faith. He had already appointed himself prime minister upon Brunei's independence in 1984.

He is one of the wealthiest people in the world and, in a nation with a high standard of living, he seems to enjoy genuine popularity among his people. But more recently, he has come under fire for the country's adoption of Islamic Sharia law.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah taking part in the Asean-China Summit in October 2021
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah will participate via video conference in the Asean-China Summit in October 2021.

The media in Brunei are neither diverse nor free. Royal family members either own or have control over the private press. State radio and television dominate broadcasting.

When reporting on politics and religion, media professionals practice self-censorship.

A Brunei Shell Petroleum offshore field, 2000
The vast oil and gas reserves of Brunei are the foundation of its wealth.

Several significant anniversaries in Brunei's history are as follows:

the 15th century. - The Islamic sultanate of Brunei is ostensibly in charge of Borneo, which includes the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak as well as a portion of the Sulu islands in the Philippines.

1841 . - The control of Sarawak is given to British army officer James Brooke by Sultan of Brunei Omar Ali Saifuddin II as a thank-you for his assistance in putting an end to a civil war.

1846 . - After giving the island of Labuan to Britain, Brunei was reduced to its current size.

1849-54. - British forces eliminate Malay piracy between Singapore and Borneo.

1888 . - Brunei is given British protection.

1929 . Beginning of oil extraction.

1941-45 . - Japanese occupation of Borneo and Brunei.

1950 . The new sultan is Omar Ali Saifuddin III.

1962. - The Brunei Revolt, which was an armed uprising led by those who opposed the monarchy and Brunei's proposed accession to the Federation of Malaysia. Members of the North Kalimantan National Army (TNKU), which is supported by Indonesia, are the insurgents. It is regarded as one of the opening salvos in the larger Indonesia-Malaysia conflict.

1963 . - In the wake of the Brunei Revolt, the Sultan decides against affiliating with the Federation of Malaysia.

1963-66. - The Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation, also known as Konfrontasi; a war between British and Commonwealth forces and Indonesian troops that was sparked by Indonesia's opposition to the formation of the Federation of Malaysia. The conflict is resolved in 1966 after Indonesian president Sukarno is ousted from office.

1967 . - After Sultan Omar, his father, abdicates, Hassanal Bolkiah takes over as ruler.

1984 . - The independence of Brunei.

1986 . - Death of the former Sultan Omar.

1990 . The Malay Muslim Monarchy's ideology is introduced by Sultan.

2004 . - After being closed for 20 years, Parliament is reopened with members who have been appointed. The constitution is later changed by the sultan to permit some people to vote for themselves, but no election day is set.

2010 . - A 2003 border dispute between Malaysia and Brunei is resolved, allowing for the joint development of two oil fields off the coast of Borneo.

2014 . Despite strong opposition from international human rights organizations, Brunei adopts sharia law as the first nation in east Asia in April.

2014 . Despite widespread international criticism, Brunei becomes the first nation in East Asia to enact Islamic sharia law.

Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (center-L) and Queen Saleha (centre-R not visible) wave from the royal chariot during a procession to mark his golden jubilee of accession to the throne in Bandar Seri Begawan on October 5, 2017
During a procession to celebrate his golden jubilee in 2017, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Queen Saleha wave from the royal chariot.

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