Current policy Public Policy
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.
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