Sunday, 6 January 2008

Brief History of Brunei Darussalam

From the 14th to the 16th centuries Brunei Darussalam was the seat of a powerful sultanate extending over Sabah, Sarawak and the lower Philippines. Thus, the current Sultan represents one of the oldest continuously ruling dynasties in the world. By the 19th century, the Brunei Darussalam Empire had been whittled away by wars, piracy and the colonial expansion of European powers.

In 1847, the sultan concluded a treaty with Great Britain and in 1888 Brunei Darussalam officially became a British protectorate. In 1906, the Residential System was established in Brunei Darussalam. A British Resident was nominated as a representative of the British government to advise the sultan in all matters except Malay customs, traditions and Islamic religion.

The 1959 Agreement established a written constitution which gave Brunei Darussalam internal self-government. In 1971, the agreement was amended and revised to assert full internal independence except defence and external affairs.

In 1967 His Highness Sultan Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien abdicated in favour of his son Pengiran Muda Mahkota Hassanal Bolkiah. On January 1, 1984 Brunei Darussalam resumed full independence and the Sultan took office as Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Home Affairs Minister, presiding over a cabinet of six. In October 1986, the cabinet was expanded to 11 members, with His Majesty relinquishing the portfolios of Finance and Home Affairs and taking over the Defence portfolio which his late father had held since 1984. In 1988 another reshuffle brought about the elevation of the deputy minister to a full minister and the creation of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources designed to boost the country's development.

Friday, 4 January 2008

About Brunei Darussalam


Brunei Darussalam, renowned for its serenity, surprises visitors with its startling contrasts.

From pristine primary jungle and isolated longhouse settlements in the interior to high-rise buildings, highways and the world's largest palace; from secluded waterfalls in wooded glades and traditional fishing villages along tranquil beaches to lavish golf and country clubs and the most splendid polo complex in Southeast Asia.

The country offers a rich diversity - natural wonders, vintage sights and modern sophistication.

Fast Facts
Full Name
Negara Brunei Darussalam

Capital City
Bandar Seri Begawan


5,765sq km
2,226sq miles


344,500 (2001 figure)

Time Zone


Malay (official)
English (other)
Chinese (other)

65% Muslim, 15% Buddhist, 10% Christian

Weather Overview
Rainfall occurs throughout the year, but is heaviest between September and January
Temperatures are consistently between 24°C (75°F) and 31°C (88°F)
Average humidity is 79%

Brunei Dollar (B$)

220 – 240V 50Hz

Weight Measures System

Country Dialling Code

Visa Overview
Citizens of most countries (including Belgium, Canada, Japan and Sweden) can stay 14 days without a visa; certain nationalities, including British, Dutch, Irish, Malaysian, German, New Zealand and Singaporean citizens, can stay 30 days without a visa. US citizens can stay up to 90 days without a visa. Australian citizens can obtain a 30-day visa on arrival at BSB airport.

The population of Brunei Darussalam, is estimated at 300,000+ persons. Of the said total, 53.0% are males and 47.0% females.

This estimate includes all people residing in Brunei Darussalam. Malay, which also includes Brunei Indigenous communities of Malay, Kedayan, Tutong, Belait, Bisaya, Dusun and Murut, constitutes the major population group numbering at 223,500 (67.6%). Other Indigenous groups namely Iban, Dayak and Kelabit accounts for 19,600 persons (5.9%), Chinese at 49,300 persons (14.9%) and Other races not specified at 38,300 persons (11.6%)

Brunei's culture mainly derives from the Old Malay World, which encompassed the Malay Archipelago and from this stemmed what is known as the Malay Civilisation. Based on historical facts, various cultural elements and foreign civilisations had a hand in influencing the culture of this country.

Thus, the influence of culture can be traced to four dominating periods of animism, Hinduism, Islam and the West. However, it was Islam that managed to wound its roots deeply into the culture of Brunei. Hence, it became a way of life and adopted as the state's ideology and philosophy.

Brunei Darussalam is richly endowed with cultural heritage steadfastly maintained until today. The setting up of the Arts and Handicraft Centre in 1975 is a living testimony as to the preservation and the proliferation of the arts and crafts of the bygone days which Brunei was renown for such as boat making, silver-smithing, bronze tooling, cloth weaving as well as mat and basket weaving.

Relics and other various artistic heritage of Brunei Darussalam besides the ones mentioned above include Malay weaponry, wood carvings, traditional games, traditional musical instruments, 'silat' (the traditional art of self defence) and decorative items for women.

Some of these are kept in the Brunei Museum and the Malay Technology Museum; not only for the world to see but most importantly for today's generation to admire and be proud of, for future generation to emulate, perhaps and something to remind us of our forefather's natural skill, creativity and innovativeness which over generations has been ingrained as one of the richest traditional culture in the Malay world.

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