Brunei is a country located in the region of Southeastern Asia. Brunei is simply governed by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. He rules by decree in consultation with a small circle, including many relatives. With oil money, the sultan can pursue a generous welfare policy.
Welfare policy with low taxes, extensive government grants and subsidies, as well as toll-free education and healthcare has probably helped the Sultan family to keep away from a burgeoning popular dissatisfaction with the lack of democratic rights (see Political system). However, financial and corruption scandals over the past two decades have cut the reputation of the Sultan family on the edge.
- Countryaah: Country facts and history of Brunei, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
During the 2010s, the Sultan has sharpened the influence of Islam in society. Businessmen are required to stay closed during Friday prayers, Islamic education has become mandatory and Islamic Sharia law has been gradually introduced, even in criminal law.
In April 2019, these laws were further tightened. Among other things, it became possible to punish penalties such as amputation of hands and feet during theft, as well as stoning to death when performing homosexual acts. Following sharp criticism from the outside world and the threat of an international trade boycott against Brunei, the Sultan emphasized that a moratorium (temporary stop) applies to the execution of executions in Brunei (see Political system).
Independent media cannot operate in the country. The English-speaking The Brunei Times was shut down by the authorities in 2016 after Saudi diplomats complained about the newspaper’s critical reporting on increased visa fees in Saudi Arabia. Reporters Without Borders placed Brunei in 152 of 180 countries in its 2019 Press Freedom Index.