LOCATIONPOPULATIONEDUCATIONPOLITICALECONOMYHOUSING
 
SHOPPING & ENTERTAINMENTRECREATIONTRANSPORT & COMMUNICATIONLOCAL MASS MEDIA
 

 

LOCATION
Location According to the Brunei Darussalam Investment Guide published by the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, the country with a size of 5769 square kilometres is located on the northwest end of Borneo Island. Brunei Darussalam has a common border with the Malaysian state of Sarawak, which divides the country into two parts consisting of four districts. The eastern part is Temburong district and the western part consists of Brunei-Muara, Tutong and Belait districts. Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB), the capital and centre of government and business activities is situated in the Brunei-Muara district. Direct flights from BSB to Asean capitals like Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Singapore take between one and a half to three hours. Daily flights are also available from BSB to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah and to Kuching in Sarawak.

 

POPULATION
The population of Brunei Darussalam is estimated at 348,200. Population growth averages at 2.2% per year. The population of Brunei Darussalam comprises:
Sex %
Male 53
Female 47

Race %
Malay 73.8
Chinese 14.8
Others / Indigenous 11.4
District %
Brunei-Muara 66
Belait 20.2
Tutong 10.9
Temburong 2.9
Brunei-Muara, where Bandar Seri Begawan the capital is located, is the most densely populated. Belait where Brunei Shell Petroleum headquarters and refinery is based has the second largest population. Tutong is a suburban town situated between Brunei-Muara and Belait districts. Temburong is a rural town in a forest reserve, which is accessible by boat from Bandar Seri Begawan. The country has a young population of 50.1% below the age of 24.
Age %
Below 15 32.5
15-24 17.6
25-34 18.9
35-49 20.4
50 & above 10.6
Its working population of 130,000 consists of 46% in the public sector and 54% in the private sector. The flow of overseas workers into Brunei Darussalam is controlled by means of labour quotas.

EDUCATION
Malay is the national language and is promoted as a medium of instruction in non-technical subjects. English remains the language of business and education in Brunei Darussalam. Free education is provided to all citizens from pre-school onwards. Amongst the English-medium first degrees which can be obtained from the University of Brunei Darussalam (UBD) are Education, Mathematics & Computer Science, Electronics & Electrical Engineering, Geography/Economics Major, Management Studies and Public Policy & Administration.

The Malay-Medium degrees offered by UBD are Education and Islamic Studies. The literacy rate of males and females are 93.7% and 84.7% respectively. Brunei’s bilingual policy has been beneficial to the country as it produces a pool of educated workers able to communicate in both English and Malay.

During the 8th NDP, the sector related to the development, namely education has been allocated B$300 million or 4.19% of the total development budget.

Enrolment by level %
Kindergarten 14
Primary 50
Secondary 32
Technical/Vocational 2
Institute 1
University 1

 

POLITICAL

The political system in the country is governed by the constitution and the tradition of the Malay Islamic Monarchy, the concept of “Melayu Islam Beraja” (MIB). The three components of MIB cover Malay culture, Islamic religion and the political framework under the monarchy.

His Majesty, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah is provided with supreme executive authority and is also the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Defence Minister. Several councils advise His Majesty on national policies covering Religious, Privy, Cabinet, Succession and Legislature. The country is a member of United Nations and ASEAN. In the past years, Brunei has actively participated in Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC), World Trade Organisation (WTO), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and East Asean Growth Area (EAGA).

Recently, Brunei successfully hosted the 20th South East Asian (SEA) Games. The Brunei Government has been instrumental in planning and developing its economy. The country is geared towards economic diversification with a budget of B$7.3 billion. Brunei also hosted APEC 2000 in November 2000, playing host to world leaders, leading business personalities and international media. The year 2001 was declared Visit Brunei Year 2001.

 

ECONOMY
To boost economic growth, privatisation is being introduced to improve efficiency and reliable services. Privatisation will be implemented if it will benefit consumers, promote development of financial services and ease the financial and administrative burden of the government.

The 8th NDP has allocated 15.45% or B$1,127.6 million of the total development budget for the industry and commerce sector. Out of this total, the industrial development sector gets B$832.5 million or 11.49%.

 

HOUSING
The national housing schemes for homeless and indigenous citizens are provided with B$900 million and public building with a budget of B$557.9 million.

Generally the house owners are allowed to renovate or extend its premises after full repayment of the houses. Besides essential utilities like road, water and electricity, the larger housing estates come with schools, mosques, playgrounds and clinics. Being home-proud owners, their houses are mostly well renovated, furnished and equipped with the latest electronic entertainment systems and appliances.

As for visitors and expatriates in the country, hotels, service apartments, private houses and apartments are available. Depending on location and accommodation type, monthly rent for a house is B$900-B$4,500 and an apartment is B$600-B$2,000. Hotel rates range from B$40-B$360 per night depending on the standard of the accommodation and facilities available. There are more than sixteen hotels and service apartments providing accommodation for visitors.

 

SHOPPING & ENTERTAINMENT

As an Islamic country, alcohol consumption in public is banned and there is no sale of alcohol in Brunei. Non-Muslims are allowed to purchase a limited amount of alcohol from their point of embarkation overseas for their own private consumption.

Most households own the latest in electronic home entertainment systems. Concerts that are held in the country are usually organised or sponsored by different embassies and private companies. The cinemas in the country are popular with teenagers and foreign workers.

The Yayasan Complex has numerous shops selling a variety of branded goods. Although other departmental stores cum supermarkets like Hua Ho, Tiong Hin, Liang Toon and Supa Save offer consumer goods, people in Brunei may travel overseas to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and the neighbouring towns of Labuan, Miri and Limbang for shopping, entertainment and other leisure pursuits.

Brunei Darussalam has no personal income tax. There are no export, sales, payroll and manufacturing taxes. The profits of pioneer industries are exempted from tax depending on the amount of capital investment. The company tax is 30% of profit. All companies contribute 10% of local employee salaries to the Employees Provident Fund.

 

RECREATION

Soccer is the most popular sport. The Brunei National Team won the Malaysia Cup '99. Local sports like silat, a form of Malay martial arts which won Brunei 3 gold medals in the 1999 SEA Games, sepaktakraw, a sport played with a rattan ball and gasing, a game involving highly polished giant tops are also favourites.

The Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports regularly promotes sports in schools and clubs with sporting events and festivals. Badminton, tennis, sailing, cycling, motorsports and golf are equally popular. Brunei boasts excellent sporting venues and facilities and has hosted national events such as the 20th South East Asian (SEA) Games, the 2001 Primary FOBBISSEA Games and the 9th Asian Junior Athletic Championships.

In February 1999, Brunei had the honour to host the 1998 Baiduri World Grand Prix Badminton Finals. After a successful event, in December 1999, Brunei once again hosted the 1999 Baiduri World Grand Prix Badminton Finals. In August 2001, the Brunei World Grand Prix Badminton Finals 2000 was hosted again in Brunei attracting 16 top seed players to the Sultanate. This prestigious event offers spectators with a chance to view the best of the best in the world of badminton.

The 35,000 seater Hassanal Bolkiah stadium is the main facility at a multi-purpose sports complex in the capital. Public swimming pools are available within Hassanal Bolkiah Sports Complex and Mumong Sports Complex in Kuala Belait.

Recreational facilities are also available at private clubs like Royal Brunei Recreation Club, Brunei Shell Recreation Club, Jerudong Park Polo Club and Royal Brunei Yacht Club. Golf courses are located at Panaga Club, Pantai Mentiri Golf Club, Jerudong Park Polo Club, Royal Brunei Golf Course and The Empire Hotel and Country Club. The Trijaya Jerudong Equestrian Park presents Bruneians and tourists with the opportunity to enjoy polo and equestrian activities. There is also a bowling alley at Jalan Tutong. Hashing or jogging is another established pastime with several forested areas being turned into recreation parks. Popular jogging areas in BSB are Bukit Shahbandar and Tasek Lama. The Peradayan Forest Reserve in Temburong has a recreational park covering 1,070 hectares with caves and sandstone formations.

One of the main attractions in Brunei Darussalam is the Jerudong Park playground, which provides exciting rides, games and amusements for visitors of all ages. Located approximately 25 minutes from town, the park can accommodate up to 60,000 people.

 

TRANSPORT & COMMUNICATION
 

The major population centres in the country are linked by a network of 2,800 kilometres of road. The 135km highway from Muara Town to Kuala Belait is being upgraded to a dual carriageway.

With one private car for every 2.09 persons, Brunei Darussalam has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world. This has been attributed to the absence of comprehensive transport system, low import tax, inexpensive maintenance and low unleaded petrol price of B$0.53 per litre.

Rivers offer an important access to the interior of Brunei’s forested terrain. A jetty in the capital is primarily used for passenger vessels shuttling to Temburong and the Kampong Ayer (Water Village).

Brunei’s international airport handles more than 32,000 flights annually. These flights include non-scheduled, chartered and military. Royal Brunei Airlines, the country’s international carrier flies to over 20 destinations in Asia, Europe, Middle East and Australia. Foreign airlines operating to Brunei include Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airline System and Thai International. To ensure safety of operations, B$242 million was budgeted to upgrade civil and air communication networks. More than 1.6 million arrivals are recorded in the country where approximately 30% are returning Bruneians.

 

LOCAL MASS MEDIA

The government owns a television channel and three radio stations operated by Radio Television Brunei (RTB). Two of the radio stations broadcast in Malay and the other station broadcasts in English, Mandarin and Hindustani at different times of the day. The television channel generally telecasts religious programmes, documentaries and government activities. Foreign feature films are usually scheduled later in the night. RTB estimates a total of 173,000 colour television sets and 284,000 sets of imported radio receivers in Brunei. A private radio station, Kristal FM and cable television from Kristal Astro are also available.

The Information Department of the Prime Minister’s Office publishes Pelita, a weekly Malay tabloid on government activities, information and tenders. About 30,000 copies of Pelita are distributed free to the public at government departments and some petrol stations.

The British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) in Seria also has a radio station. It broadcasts 24 hours daily including programmes from BBC and is broadcasted to the Belait district.

The Borneo Bulletin is the leading English daily in the country. It was first published in 1953 as a weekly community newspaper for expatriates working with Brunei Shell Petroleum in the Belait District. In September 1990, it became a daily newspaper in Brunei Darussalam. An average of 100,000 readers daily while the Weekend and Sunday edition have an average of 125,000 readers. Borneo Bulletin remains the foremost source of information on local and foreign affairs, and the region’s business news. Detailed stock market reports of the Singapore and Kuala Lumpur stock exchanges are carried for the benefit of Bruneian businessmen and investors. In addition to the more serious news, sports, lifestyle and leisure pages are also included.

In January 1995, an independent Malay weekly paper, Media Permata was launched. From 30th July 1998, Media Permata began publishing a daily Malay newspaper to fulfill the information, educational and entertaining expectations of the growing Malay population. It provides local news and articles for the Malay literate. An average of 90,000 readers daily read the Media Permata. Approximately 67% of Brunei’s population are Malay.

There are four privately owned cinemas and eight government mobile units. On weekends, the private cinemas would screen up to three different titles per location to cater for a diverse audience.