- Highest human development index in the Islamic world (Human Development Report 2009)
- Highest macroeconomic stability in the world (Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010)
- 2nd highest per capita income in ASEAN (Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010)
- 2nd highest quality of life in ASEAN (Human Development Report 2009)
- 3rd most favourable tax regime in Asia (Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010)
- 4th largest oil producer in ASEAN (World Trade Organization, 2008)
- 9th largest LNG exporter in the world (World Trade Organization, 2008)
- One of the lowest inflation rates in the world – 2.7% (Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010)
- One of the highest literacy rates in the world – 94.9% (Human Development Report 2009)
- One of the best healthcare systems in Asia (World Health Organization)
The Islamic Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam is situated on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo and on the coastline of the South China Sea with its boundary attached to the Malaysian State of Sarawak. The total land area is about 5,700 sq km and the capital is Bandar Seri Begawan. The climate is equatorial with temperature around 23-32 Degrees Celsius.
Islam is the Official religion of Brunei Darussalam and plays a central role in the life of every Muslim in Brunei Darussalam. Other religions include Christianity and Buddhism.
The population of Brunei was estimated to be about 357,000 in 2004, the communities include mainly Malay, Tutong, Murut with a minority of Chinese and other races.
From the 14th to the 16th centuries Brunei Darussalam was the seat of a powerful sultanate extending over Sabah, Sarawak and the lower Philippines. By the 19 th Century, the Brunei Darussalam Empire had been whittled away by wars, piracy and the colonial expansion of European powers. In 1888 it became a British protectorate. Britain retained responsibility for the state’s defence and foreign affairs until 1984, when the sultanate became fully independent.
Brunei Darussalam’s political system is based on the country’s written Constitution and the tradition of the Malay Islamic Monarchy. Supreme executive authority vests with His Majesty the Sultan. The Prime Minister, who must be a Brunei Malay professing the Muslim religion belonging to the Shafeite sect, remains with The Sultan. The Ministers, including the Prime Minister, are appointed by The Sultan to hold office at the pleasure of His Majesty. Today they constitute the Council of Cabinet Ministers presided over by His Majesty the Sultan.
Infrastructure and Economy
The travelling time is between 1.5 hours and 3 hours from major Asian financial centers such as Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpar, Manila, Shanghai and Singapore to Brunei Darussalam. There are also direct international flights to other locations in Australia, Europe, Middle East and New Zealand.
Brunei Darussalam has a small but wealthy economy, which is growing at a slow and steady rate. It has remained stable with an average inflation rate of 1.5% over the past twenty years. The people of Brunei Darussalam enjoy a high quality of life with an estimated US$31,000 per capita income – the second highest in the ASEAN region. Brunei Darussalam’s economy has been dominated by the oil and gas industry for the past 80 years. Hydrocarbon resources account for over 90% of its export and more than 50% of its Gross Domestic Product. Today, Brunei is the fourth largest oil producer in South East Asia and the ninth largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the world. Other primary resources include rice production, fruit farming, forestry and fisheries.
The official language is Bahasa Malay. Other languages use include English and Chinese.