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Brunei ( in English), officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( , Jawi: بروني دارالسلام), is a country located on the north coast of the island of Borneomarker, in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Seamarker it is completely surrounded by the state of Sarawakmarker, Malaysiamarker, and in fact it is separated into two parts by Limbangmarker, which is part of Sarawak.

Brunei regained its independence from the United Kingdommarker on 1 January 1984 and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. During the early 20th century, the Southeast Asian nation experienced an economic boom and underwent rapid development. Economic growth during the 1970s and 1990s, averaging 56% from 1999 to 2008, has transformed Brunei Darussalam into a newly industrialised country. Brunei has one of the world's fastest growing Gross Domestic Product at Purchasing Power Parity. Brunei has the second highest Human Development Index among the South East Asia nations, after Singaporemarker, and is classified as a Developed Country. Islam is the official religion.

History

The power of the Sultanate of Brunei was at its peak from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. The Sultanate's suzerainty is thought to have extended over the coastal regions of modern-day Sarawakmarker and Sabahmarker, the Sulu archipelagomarker, and the islands off the northwest tip of Borneo. European influence gradually brought an end to this regional power. Later, there was a brief war with Spainmarker, in which Brunei's capital was occupied. Eventually the sultanate was victorious but lost territories to Spainmarker. The decline of the Bruneian Empire culminated in the nineteenth century when Brunei lost much of its territory to the White Rajahs of Sarawakmarker, resulting in its current small landmass and separation into two parts. Brunei was a Britishmarker protectorate from 1888 to 1984, and occupied by Japanmarker from 1941 to 1945 during World War II.

There was a small rebellion against the monarchy during the 1960s, which was suppressed with help from the United Kingdommarker. This event became known as the Brunei Revolt and was partly responsible for the failure to create the North Borneo Federation. The rebellion partially affected Brunei's decision to opt out of the Malaysian Federationmarker.

Politics and government



Under Brunei's 1959 constitution, His Majesty Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah is the head of state with full executive authority, including emergency powers since 1962. The Sultan's role is enshrined in the national ideology known as Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB), or Malay Muslim Monarchy. The country has been under hypothetical martial law since Brunei Revolt of 1962.

The media is extremely pro-government and the Royal family retains a venerated status within the country.

International organizations and Brunei

Brunei is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ASEAN, APEC and Organization of the Islamic Conference, and other regional and international forum.

Press freedom

Brunei has been given "Not Free" status by Freedom House; press criticism of the government and monarchy is rare. The government allowed a printing and publishing company, Brunei Press SDN BHD, to form in 1953. It continues to print the leading English daily Borneo Bulletin. This paper began as a weekly community paper, became the country's daily paper in 1990 and "remains the foremost source of information on local and foreign affairs." As for mass media, the Brunei government owns and operates one television channel and three radio stations. A private company has made cable television available as well as one private radio station, Kristal FM.

International rankings

Political and economic rankings
GDP per capita - 5th highest, at I$50,117
Human Development Index - 30th high, at 0.919
Literacy Rate - 75th, at 92.7%
Unemployment rate - 158th, at 4.00%


Health rankings
Fertility rate- 105th most fertile, at 2.29 per woman
:Birth rate - 87th most births, at 21.58 per 1000 people
::Infant mortality - 30th least deaths, at 5.5 per 1000 live births
Death rate - 191st highest death rate, at 2.8 per 1000 people
Life Expectancy - 74th highest, at 75.74 years
HIV/AIDS rate - 123rd most cases, at 1000 people


Territorial disputes

Brunei claims some territories in Sarawakmarker and it is one of many nations to lay claim to some of the disputed Spratly Islandsmarker, specifically small rocks exposed at low tide on Louisa Reef. However, Kuraman Island is recognized as Malaysia territory by Brunei.

The status of Limbang as part of Sarawak was disputed by Brunei since the area was first annexed in 1890.

Districts and mukims

Districts of Brunei


Brunei is divided into four districts (daerah):

The districts are subdivided into thirty-eight mukims.

Geography



Brunei Darussalam consists of two unconnected parts with a total area of 5,766 sq. kilometers (2,226 sq. miles). 87% of the population lives in the larger western part, while only about 10,000 live in the mountainous eastern part (the district of Temburongmarker). The total population of Brunei Darussalam is about 400,000 of which around 130,000 live in the capital Bandar Seri Begawanmarker. Other major towns are the port town of Muara, the oil producing town of Seriamarker and its neighboring town, Kuala Belaitmarker. In the Belait district, the Panagamarker area is home to large numbers of expatriates due to Royal Dutch Shell and British Army housing and recreational facilities. Jerudong Park, a well known amusement park, is located on the west of Bandar Seri Begawan.

Climate

Brunei Darussalam has a cool equatorial climate. The average annual temperature is 27.1°C (80.8°F), with the April-May average of 27.7°C (81.9°F) and the October-December average of 26.8°C (80.2°F).

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average High (°C)

27.8

27.8

29.2

29.1

29.5

28.1

28.4

28.3

28.0

27.5

27.4

28.0

28.3

Average Low (°C)

16.1

16.0

19.5

20.9

20.9

23.7

23.1

23.3

25.3

23.1

19.2

16.6

20.6
Average Rainfall (mm) 277.7 138.3 113.0 200.3 239.0 214.2 228.8 215.8 257.7 319.9 329.4 343.5
2873.9


Economy

This small, wealthy economy is a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition. Crude oil and natural gas production account for nearly half of its GDP. Substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic production. The government provides for all medical services and subsidizes rice and housing. Brunei's leaders are concerned that steadily increased integration in the world economy will undermine internal social cohesion although it became a more prominent player by serving as chairman for the 2000 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Stated plans for the future include upgrading the labour force, reducing unemployment, strengthening the banking and tourism sectors, and, in general, further widening the economic base. The national airline, Royal Brunei, is trying to make Brunei a hub for international travel between Europe and Australia/New Zealand, and also has services to major Asian destinations. Brunei is increasingly importing from other countries.

The Brunei Halal brand

Brunei Darussalam in July 2009 launched its national halal branding scheme which allows manufacturers in Brunei and in other countries to use the premium Brunei Halal trademark to help them penetrate lucrative markets in countries with significant numbers of Muslim consumers.

As envisioned by the Sultanate, the use of the Brunei Halal brand would signify to Muslim consumers the manufacturers' strict compliance with laws relating to Islamic teachings. Brunei also aims to build confidence in the brand through strategies that will both ensure the halal integrity of the products and unfaltering compliance with set rules governing the sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing process, logistics and distribution.

The Brunei Halal brand is said to be the first proper attempt to put together a global halal brand that will reap the potential commercial returns of catering to the consumption needs of Muslims worldwide. It capitalises on the reputation of the Sultanate in fostering strict adherence to Islamic teachings among its Muslim citizens.

A new company, government-owned Brunei Wafirah Holdings Sdn Bhd, has been established as the owner of the Brunei Halal brand. Wafirah has entered into a joint venture with Brunei Global Islamic Investment and Hong Kong-based logistics firm Kerry FSDA Limited to form Ghanim International Food Corporation Sdn Bhd. Ghanim International manages the use of the Brunei Halal trademark.

Producers that want to use the brand are required to first acquire the Brunei halal label (or the certification for compliance with accepted manufacturing and slaughtering practices under Islam) through the Department of Syariah Affairs' Halal Food Control Section. They can then approach Ghanim for their application to use the brand.

Agriculture

Brunei has set an ambitious target of increasing food self-sufficiency through rice production from the current 3.12 per cent to 20 and 60 per cent by 2010 and 2015 respectively.

To achieve this target, Brunei renamed its Brunei Darussalam Rice 1 to Laila Rice during the launch of the "Padi Planting Towards Achieving Self-Sufficiency of Rice Production in Brunei Darussalam" ceremony at the Wasan padi fields in April 2009.

In August 2009, the Royal Family reaped the first few Laila padi stalks, after years of multiple attempts to boost local rice production, a goal which was envisioned about half a century ago.

Healthcare

All Brunei citizens have access to free healthcare from public hospitals. The largest hospital in Brunei is Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital, and there is a private medical centre, the Jerudong Park Medical Centre. As of 2008, no hospitals in Brunei were undergoing international healthcare accreditation. However the health system of Brunei Darussalam was ranked fourth in the Asia-Pacific region and second in Asean after Singapore.

There is currently no medical school in Brunei, and Bruneians wishing to study to become doctors must attend university overseas. However, the Institute of Medicines had been introduced at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam and a new building has been built for the faculty. The building, including research lab facilities, was completed in 2009. There has been a School of Nursing since 1951. 58 nurse managers were appointed in RIPAS to improve service and provide better medical care. In December 2008, The nursing college merged with the Institute of Medicines at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam to produce more nurses and midwives.

The Health Promotion Centre opened in November 2008 and serves to educate the public on the importance of having a healthy lifestyle.

Transport

Brunei is accessible via sea and land travel, also by hovercraft. The main highway running across Brunei is the Pan Borneo Highway, which is a joint project with Malaysia. Besides the Pan Borneo Highway, Brunei can be accessed by air through Brunei International Airportmarker. Royal Brunei is the main airline company in Brunei.

Brunei has several sea ports, mainly to export its petroleum products, as well as for import and export purposes.

Demographics

The official language of the nation is Malay (Malay: Bahasa Melayu), although an important minority speak Chinese language. The local variety of Malay (Kedayan or Bukit Malay), spoken natively by two thirds of the population, is quite divergent from and unintelligible to Standard Malay. The most important aboriginal languages are Iban, and two languages called Tutong, each with about 20,000 speakers. English is also widely spoken and there is a relatively large expatriate community with significant numbers of British and Australian citizens. The foreign population is around 220,000 people. The non expatriate population is around 399,290.

Ethnicity

  • Malay 66.3%,
  • Chinese 11.2%,
  • Indigenous 3.4%,
  • Other 19.1% (2004 est.)


Religion

Islam is the official religion of Brunei at 67 percent, and the sultan is the head of the religion in the country. Other faiths practised are Buddhism (13 percent, mainly by the Chinese) and Christianity (11 percent). Atheists are mostly Chinese at about 7 percent. Indigenous religions are about 2 percent.

Culture

The culture of Brunei is predominantly Malay (reflecting its ethnicity), with heavy influences from Islam, but is seen as more conservative than Malaysiamarker.

Brunei also has a large number of foreign workers, including Indonesian and Filipino workers, labourers from Thailandmarker, Indonesiamarker and the Indian subcontinent (particularly Indiamarker and Bangladeshmarker), and American and British professionals working in industry and education.

Prohibition of alcohol

As an Sharia country, the sale and public consumption of alcohol is banned. Foreigners and non-Muslims are allowed to bring in 12 cans of beer and two bottles of other alcohol (e.g., wine or spirits; no distinction is made for alcohol content). This limit used to apply to every entry; in 2007, however, this was changed to one limit every 48 hours. After the introduction of prohibition in the early 1990s, all pubs and nightclubs were forced to close.

Bruneian celebrities



See also

Notes and references

Bibliography

  • U.S.marker Department of Statemarker website (2003)
  • L. W. W. Gudgeon, British North Borneo, Adam and Charles Black: London, 1913.


External links

Government
General information
  • Brunei from UCB Libraries GovPubs
Business
Travel



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