Brunei Government and Politics


According to, Brunei is a hereditary sultanate.The current sultan is Hassanal Bolkiah, who took office in 1967, when his father, Omar Ali Saifuddin, abdicated. However, he continued to be the country’s strong man for a long time. Since the country became independent on January 1, 1984, the sultan is also prime minister. Several of his family members are members of the government.

According to the 1959 Constitution, amended in 1962, Parliament has 20 members, half of whom are elected. However, the real power lies with the sultan family. The country’s only political party is the Party Perpaduan Kebangsaan Brunei, PPKB.  Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of BN and its meanings of Brunei.


The judicial system consists of the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the magistrates’ courts. The High Court is both an appellate body and a court of first instance in more important cases. The country’s highest court is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. Material law is based on English and Islamic law. The latter is applied by special Sharia courts. The death penalty remains in the penal code but is de facto abolished in 1957.

Heads of State

Sultans from 1762

1762-95 Omar Ali Saifuddin I
1796-1807 Muhammad Tajuddin
1806-07 Muhammad Jamalul Alam I
1807-29 Muhammad Kanzul Alam
1826-28 Muhammad Alam
1829-52 Omar Ali Saifuddin II
1852-85 Abdul Momin
1885-1906 Hashim Jalilul Alam Aqamaddin
1906-24 Muhammad Jamalul Alam II
1924-50 Ahamad Tajuddin
1950-67 Omar Ali Saifuddin II
1967- Muda Hassanal Bolkiah

History and Politics

Islam comes to Brunei

Little is known about the time before Islam came to Brunei in the 14th century. There was probably an exchange with other states in the region and the sultanate maintained trade relations with China. This is how Chinese objects were found in Brunei. Islam spread in Brunei since the 14th century. A ruler named Awang Alak Betatar became a Muslim and changed his name to Sultan Muhammad.

The power of the sultan

Brunei is an absolute monarchy, the country’s sultan is the absolute ruler. On October 4, 1967, Hassanal Bolkiah became Sultan of Brunei and thus head of state, prime minister, defense minister and at the same time finance minister of the country. His family members are also involved in government. The country’s currency is called the Brunei dollar and its value is based on the Singapore dollar.

Former national territory

Today’s Brunei is the remainder of a much larger national territory that encompassed the entire north coast of today’s Borneo.

Brunei Head of Government

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