Geographic and Governmental Profile of Brunei

Background
The Sultanate of Brunei's influence peaked between the 15th and 17th centuries when its control extended over coastal areas of northwest Borneo and the southern Philippines. Brunei subsequently entered a period of decline brought on by internal strife over royal succession, colonial expansion of European powers, and piracy. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate; independence was achieved in 1984. The same family has ruled Brunei for over six centuries. Brunei benefits from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, the source of one of the highest per capita GDPs in Asia.
Location
Southeastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and Malaysia
Geographic coordinates
4 30 N, 114 40 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Southeast Asia
Area
total:
5,765 sq km
rank:
173
land:
5,265 sq km
water:
500 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Delaware
Land boundaries
total:
381 km
border countries:
Malaysia 381 km
Coastline
161 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm or to median line
Climate
tropical; hot, humid, rainy
Terrain
flat coastal plain rises to mountains in east; hilly lowland in west
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
South China Sea 0 m
highest point:
Bukit Pagon 1,850 m
Natural resources
petroleum, natural gas, timber
Land use
arable land:
2.08%
permanent crops:
0.87%
other:
97.05% (2005)
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Irrigated land
10 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
8.5 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
0.09
per capita:
243 cu m/yr (1994)
Natural hazards
typhoons, earthquakes, and severe flooding are rare
Environment - current issues
seasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
close to vital sea lanes through South China Sea linking Indian and Pacific Oceans; two parts physically separated by Malaysia; almost an enclave within Malaysia
Country name
conventional long form:
Brunei Darussalam
conventional short form:
Brunei
local long form:
Negara Brunei Darussalam
local short form:
Brunei
Government type
constitutional sultanate (locally known as Malay Islamic Monarchy)
Capital
name:
Bandar Seri Begawan
geographic coordinates:
4 53 N, 114 56 E
time difference:
UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
4 districts (daerah-daerah, singular - daerah); Belait, Brunei-Muara, Temburong, Tutong
Independence
1 January 1984 (from the UK)
National holiday
National Day, 23 February (1984); note - 1 January 1984 was the date of independence from the UK, 23 February 1984 was the date of independence from British protection
Constitution
29 September 1959 (some provisions suspended under a State of Emergency since December 1962, others since independence on 1 January 1984)
Legal system
mixed legal system based on English common law and Islamic law
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age for village elections; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah (since 5 October 1967); note - the monarch is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government:
Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah (since 5 October 1967)
cabinet:
Council of Cabinet Ministers appointed and presided over by the monarch; deals with executive matters; note - there is also a Religious Council (members appointed by the monarch) that advises on religious matters, a Privy Council (members appointed by the monarch) that deals with constitutional matters, and the Council of Succession (members appointed by the monarch) that determines the succession to the throne if the need arises
elections:
none; the monarchy is hereditary
Legislative branch
the Sultan appointed a Legislative Council with 29 members in September 2005; he increased the size of the council to 33 members in June 2011; the council meets annually in March
elections:
last held in March 1962 (date of next election NA)
the Legislative Council met on 25 September 2004 for first time in 20 years with 21 members appointed by the Sultan; it passed constitutional amendments calling for a 45-seat council with 15 elected members; no timeframe for an election was announced
Judicial branch
Supreme Court - chief justice and judges are sworn in by monarch for three-year terms; Judicial Committee of Privy Council in London is final court of appeal for civil cases; Sharia courts deal with Islamic laws (2006)
Political parties and leaders
National Development Party or NDP [YASSIN Affendi]
Brunei National Solidarity Party or PPKB [Abdul LATIF bin Chuchu] and People's Awareness Party or PAKAR [Awang Haji MAIDIN bin Haji Ahmad] were deregistered in 2007; parties are small and have limited activity
Political pressure groups and leaders
NA
International organization participation
ADB, APEC, ARF, ASEAN, C, CP, EAS, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDB, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIFIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Yusoff Abd HAMID
chancery:
3520 International Court NW #300, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 237-1838
FAX:
[1] (202) 885-0560
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Daniel L. SHIELDS III
embassy:
Simpang 336-52-16-9, Jalan Kebangsaan, Bandar Seri Begawan, BC4115
mailing address:
Unit 4280, Box 40, FPO AP 96507; P.O. Box 2991, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8675, Negara Brunei Darussalam
telephone:
[673] 238-4616
FAX:
[673] 238-4604
Flag description
yellow with two diagonal bands of white (top, almost double width) and black starting from the upper hoist side; the national emblem in red is superimposed at the center; yellow is the color of royalty and symbolizes the sultanate; the white and black bands denote Brunei's chief ministers; the emblem includes five main components: a swallow-tailed flag, the royal umbrella representing the monarchy, the wings of four feathers symbolizing justice, tranquility, prosperity, and peace, the two upraised hands signifying the government's pledge to preserve and promote the welfare of the people, and the crescent moon denoting Islam, the state religion; the state motto "Always render service with God's guidance" appears in yellow Arabic script on the crescent; a ribbon below the crescent reads "Brunei, the Abode of Peace"
National anthem
name:
"Allah Peliharakan Sultan" (God Bless His Majesty)
lyrics/music:
Pengiran Haji Mohamed YUSUF bin Abdul Rahim/Awang Haji BESAR bin Sagap
adopted 1951
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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