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Brunei Darussalam

Brunei Darussalam

Summary

Brunei Darussalam is a small coastal sultanate of 443,593 people, surrounded by Malaysia and split into two separate regions, with the Malaysian Limbang Corridor dividing the two. Brunei has expansive petroleum and natural gas fields, creating one of the highest GDP per capitas in the world: $78,200.1 The government is able to provide its citizens with free education through the tertiary level, and free medical care, without personal income taxes.2 Its leading exports are mineral fuels and organic chemicals, and the majority of the Bruneian workforce is in industries, like petroleum, natural gas, construction or transportation.3 Brunei has strong economic infrastructure, an educated workforce and stable government. The nation focuses heavily on foreign investment.4 Brunei is predominantly Muslim, and abides by Shari’a penal code.5 1 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bx.html 2–5 Ibid

Demographics

Nationality
Bruneian
Population
415,717 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

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Environment
Family
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Animals

Environment

Brunei is party to agreements on biodiversity, climate change, desertification, endangered species, hazardous wastes, law of the sea, ozone protection and ship pollution.1 Brunei is both coastal plain and hilly lowland with a tropical climate. The nation experiences occasional, infrequent, natural hazards: typhoons, earthquakes and flooding.2

Family

Full implementation of the Shari’a penal code poses threats to women’s rights, according to Amnesty International, requiring unmarried women to remain in the home of their nuclear family or other guardian. Adultery, sodomoy and rape would be punishable by stoning or lashing under the implementation of phase three of the Shari’a penal code.1 Maternal and infant mortality rates are fairly low.2 Official data pertaining to Brunei’s stance on child marriage is unavailable.3

Human Rights

The Human Rights Watch’s latest report lacks any information on human rights in Brunei.1 Amnesty International reports that Brunei’s lack of transparency creates difficulty in monitoring the protection of human rights in the nation.2 However, Amnesty International cites concern that, if fully implemented, the Shari’a penal code would impede the rights of Bruneian citizens, inhibiting freedom of speech, expression and religion, and further reducing the rights of women. Adultery, sodomoy and rape would be punishable by stoning or lashing under the implementation of phase three of the Shari’a penal code.3

Education

Since Brunei is a small, wealthy country, the government is able to provide an extensive welfare system that allows for free education through university level, and free health care, for its 443,593 citizens, all without personal income taxes.1 The average child is in school for 15 years, and the literacy rate is at 96 percent.2 Education accounts for 4.4 percent of Brunei’s GDP.3 Non-citizen children encounter barriers in accessing education, having to apply for their enrollment and pay monthly fees to the school.4

Poverty

There is no official data available on population below the poverty line in Brunei. 9.6 percent of children under the age of 5 are underweight. The GDP per capita is $78,200, and the unemployment rate is 6.9 percent.1

Religion

Islam is the official religion of Brunei and accounts for 78 percent of the population, with Christianity accounting for 8.7 percent of the population, Buddhism for 7.8 percent and 4.7 percent identifying with another faith.1 Shari’a penal code applies to Muslim and non-Muslim citizens alike.2

Clean Water

Brunei reportedly has high standards for water quality,1 but there are no official national statistics on the percentage of the population with or without access to modern sanitation facilities and clean water sources.2

Economy

Though Brunei is a small nation of just under half a million people, it has strong economic infrastructure, an educated workforce and stable government. The nation focuses largely on foreign investment.1 Brunei’s GDP per capita is $78,200, one of the highest in the world.2 Its leading exports are mineral fuels and organic chemicals, and the majority of the Bruneian workforce is in industries, like petroleum, natural gas, construction or transportation.3 The unemployment rate is 6.9 percent.4 Bruneians do not pay personal income taxes, and are provided free medical services and education.5

Government

Brunei Darussalam is formally known as an absolute monarchy or sultanate, and is often called Brunei in its short form.1 The current sultanate family has been in power for the last 600 years.2 All political power in Brunei is concentrated in the sultan, as he acts as both the chief of state and head of government.3 Brunei is a largely Islamic state, and adheres to Shari’a penal code. The first of three phases of the penal code was rolled out in 2014; this code applies to both Muslim and non-Muslim citizens.4

Health

Brunei’s life expectancy at birth is 77 years, and the infant and maternal mortality rates are fairly low.1 The Bruneian government provides free health care to all of its citizens.2 Heart disease, strokes and diabetes are the leading causes of death in Brunei.3

Children

Just over 23 percent of the Bruneian population is under the age of 15.1 The infant mortality rate is relatively low, at just 9.6 percent per 1,000 members of the population, but approximately 9 percent of children under the age of 5 are underweight.2 The Bruneian government’s does not imprison juvenile criminals, rather, juvenile offenders are placed in detention or rehabilitation centers, and the maximum service time cannot exceed 6 months. In 2013, the Bruneian government amended the Children and Young Person’s Order, allowing juveniles to perform community service rather than spend time in a detention center.3

Animals

Brunei is home to the proboscis monkey, the black and yellow broadbill, green crested lizard, python and sun bear.1 Brunei is party to agreements on biodiversity, endangered species and law of the sea.2 Brunei is both coastal plain and hilly lowland with a tropical climate.3

Brunei Darussalam

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