BRUNEIAN Facts & Figures

Size: 2,226 square miles

Population: 401,890

Capital: Bandar Seri Begawan

Currency: Brunei Dollar

Weather / Climate:

The climate in Brunei is tropical equatorial and humid subtropical at higher altitudes with heavy rainfall. Bandar Seri Begawan's climate is tropical equatorial with two seasons. Dry season is extremely hot (24 to 36 °C / 75.2 to 96.8 °F. Wet or rainy season is generally warm and wet (20 to 28 °C / 68 to 82.4 °F). Most of the country is a flat coastal plain with mountains in the east and hilly lowland in the west. The lowest point is at sea level and the highest is Bukit Pagon (1,850 m/6,070 ft).

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BRUNEIAN languages

There are a multitude of languages spoken in Brunei[1]. The official language of the state of Brunei is Melayu Brunei. This came into force on 29 September 1959, with the signing of Brunei 1959 Constitution[2].

English is also widely used as a business and working language. It is also the language of instruction in secondary and tertiary education. Other languages spoken in Brunei include the Chinese, Indian and Native languages spoken by the minority ethnic groups.

The local dialect Melayu Brunei (Brunei Malay) is the official standardized form of the Malay language used in Brunei. It is also spoken as lingua franca in some parts of East Malaysia such as Federal Territory of Labuan, District of Limbang and Lawas (Sarawak) and District of Sipitang, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu and Papar (Sabah). It is spoken by about 266,000 people.[3] There are calls to expand the use of the language in Brunei.[4] Brunei Malay is quite divergent from standard Malay and the rest of the Malay dialects and is mostly mutually unintelligible. Brunei Malay is the official printed form and is used in all official Brunei government media.

The Malay language, also known locally as Bahasa Melayu, is the standard language for the peoples of the Malay Archipelago and is spoken as a lingua franca in Brunei. The official standard for the language, has been defined and agreed upon by the Language and Literature Bureaus of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Standard Malay ia also accepted in the printed form and is used in all official Brunei government media as well.

Arabic is the language of the Koran and is used by the Islamic Scholars in Brunei. The official religion of Brunei is Islam[5] and as such, all adherents of the faith possess some proficiency in reading and speaking Arabic.

Arabic is also taught in schools, particularly religious schools, and also in institutes of higher learning[6]. As of 2004, there are six Arabic schools and one religious teacher's college in Brunei[7].

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The population of Brunei in July 2011 was 401,890 of which 76% live in urban areas. The average life expectancy is 76.17 years. In 2004, 66.3% of the population were Malay, 11.2% are Chinese, 3.4% are Indigenous, with smaller groups making up the rest.[4]

The official language of Brunei is Melayu Brunei (Brunei Malay), the official standardized form of the Malay language used in Brunei. Brunei Malay is quite divergent from standard Malay and the rest of the Malay dialects and is mostly mutually unintelligible.[1] English and Chinese are also spoken.[39] Bahasa Rojak, often spoken by the media and the public, is known as a "mixed language" and considered detrimental to normal Malay.[40] Other languages spoken include Kedayan, Tutong, Murut, Dusun and Iban.[39] English is also widely spoken[41] and there is a relatively large expatriate community with significant numbers of British and Australian citizens.

Islam is the official religion of Brunei,[4] and the sultan is the head of the religion in the country.[citation needed] Two-thirds of the population adheres to Islam. Other faiths practiced are Buddhism (13%, mainly by the Chinese) and Christianity (10%).[4] Freethinkers, mostly Chinese, form about 7% of the population. Although most of them practice some form of religion with elements of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, they prefer to present themselves as having professed no religion officially, hence regarded as atheists in official censuses. Followers of indigenous religions are about 2% of the population.

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Cuisine of Brunei it's similar to, and heavily influenced by the cuisine of neighbouring Malaysia, Singapore,and Indonesia, with additional influences from India, China, Thailand, and Japan. As is common in the region, fish and rice are staple foods, though beef is expensive and thus less common. Due to the predominance of the Islamic religion, the food is halal and pork is avoided. Alcohol is banned in Brunei. In rural areas, game animals such as wild birds, sambar deer, and barking deer are hunted.

Common foods and dishes

Dished from Brunei are often spicy, and are commonly eaten with either rice or noodles. Beef rendang, nasi lemak and puteri nanas, are popular foods in Brunei.[2] Among the few dishes peculiar to Brunei is ambuyat, a sticky ball of flavourless sago starch, which is wrapped around a bamboo fork and dipped into a sour fruit sauce.


Common drinks include coconut milk, fruit juice, tea and coffee. Food from many other cultures, such as Chinese and Indian, are present in Brunei.

Taken from wikipedia

Places to go in BRUNEI





Doing business in BRUNEI

Brunei Business etiquette

Opening hours in Brunei are as follows:
Government offices are open between 7.45am-12.15pm and 1.30pm-4.30pm, Monday to Thursday and Saturday
Banks are open between 9.00am-3.00pm, Monday to Friday and 9.00am-11.00am, Saturday
Commercial businesses are open between 8.00am-noon and 1.15pm-5.00pm, Monday to Friday
Shops are open between 7.30am-8.00pm/9.00pm, Monday to Saturday

Social etiquette with Brunei Malays:

It is considered impolite to show the soles of your feet when seated opposite a person. Do not cross your legs, but keep your feet flat on the floor.
Use your right hand at all times when giving or receiving.
Avoid touching and pointing. If you need to point, use the thumb of your right hand with your other fingers clenched.
Public displays of affection such as hugging and kissing are not usual in Brunei. It is not customary to shake hands with a member of the opposite sex. Wait for them to offer first.

Social etiquette with Brunei Chinese:

When giving or receiving an item, such as a business card, it is polite to offer or receive the item with both hands.
Avoid touching and pointing.
Don’t sit until your host or hostess invites you to do so.
Avoid visiting Brunei around Hari Raya (at the end of the Muslim fasting month) or Chinese New Year. These holidays fall on a different month every year and many businesses are closed at this time.
When inviting Bruneians to lunch or dinner, consider their ethnic origins (eg. pork is forbidden among Muslims). As an option, you may find it easier to ask your guests to recommend a restaurant.
Avoid conversations concerning sex, religion or politics.
When entering a Malay or Chinese house, shoes should be taken off and left outside.

Tariffs/regulations in Brunei

Bruneihas a low tariff regime and no personal income tax. Company tax is 55 per cent for the two oil and gas companies: Brunei Shell and Jasra Elf, and 30 per cent for other companies.

Bruneihas strict import regulations on halal, chilled or frozen meat. Halal beef is either supplied by local abattoirs or through an Australian-based company, Halaqah Sdn Bhd (formerly known as The Brunei Meat Export Company) a subsidiary of Jerambak Holdings Pty Ltd based in the Northern Territory.

Items that are permitted to enter Brunei without incurring custom duty:
200 cigarettes or 250g tobacco products
60ml of perfume
250ml eau de toilette
two bottles of liquor and 12 cans of beer
Alcohol must be declared at customs upon arrival.

Brunei Labour laws

There is a shortage of local labour and approximately one-third of the total work force is made up of foreign workers.
An approved labour licence cannot be altered for at least six months after issue. Applications will not be accepted until the formation of a local company or a branch of a foreign company has been officially approved and registered.
Trade unionism is not extensively practised in Brunei. The Trade Disputes Act provides customary immunities and protections in respect of acts done in furtherance of trade disputes.

Investment in Brunei

Bruneiis currently engaged in an Economic Diversification program whereby the government is proactively promoting investment opportunities in the country via the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources to foreign companies. This program aims to improve the country’s investment climate through investment treaties and memorandums of understanding with foreign governments and private sector investors.
The Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources is responsible for promoting and facilitating industrial development in Brunei through its Industrial Development Authority (BINA).
The Investment Incentive Act, enacted in 1975, provides tax advantages at start up to businesses plus ongoing incentives throughout growth and expansion.
Industries related to national food security and those based on local resources require some level of local ownership/participation, otherwise industries can be totally foreign owned. Brunei’s Investment Guide lists preferred industries, associated activities and products.

Setting up an office in Brunei

In Brunei a business may be set up under any of the following categories:

- sole proprietorship
- partnership
- company
- branch of a foreign company

All businesses must be registered with the Registrar of Business Names or Registrar of Companies except those using the full name of the owner.
Business premises are required to be licensed under the Miscellaneous Licences Act.
The regulations relating to foreign participation in equity are flexible with 100 per cent foreign ownership permissible in many instances.

All polluting industries are banned and one of the continuing criteria for engaging any industry’s participation is their impact on the environment.


Under the current National Development Plan, the government has allocated a total of A$1.4 billion for the development of the transport and communications systems.

Brunei's diversification and development plans are aimed at becoming a regional Service Hub for Trade and Tourism (SHuTT) for the sub-region. As a result of this, port and airport facilities have been upgraded.
Jabatan Telekom Brunei (JTB) and DST Communications Sdn Bhd (DSTCom) are the two operators providing telecommunications services in Brunei. JTB is a government department under the umbrella of the Ministry of Communications.
While the government through JTB, will continue to play a major role in developing the country's physical telecommunications infrastructure, it will continue to look to the private sector for innovation and improvement in provision of services to users.

Taxation in Brunei

Bruneihas no personal income tax, no sales tax, payroll, manufacturing or export tax. Sole proprietorship and partnership businesses are not subject to income tax and approved foreign investors are not required to pay company tax for up to eight years.
Companies are subject to tax on the following types of income:

-gains of profits from any trade, business or vocation
-dividends received from companies not previously assessed for tax in Brunei
-interest and discounts
-rents, royalties, premiums and any other profits arising from properties

However, there is no capital gains tax where the Collector of Income Tax can establish that the gains form part of the normal trading activities – they then become taxable as revenue gains.

Finance in Brunei

The financial sector in Brunei includes:
nine commercial banks - two of which are locally incorporated
Citibank, Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, and the Standard Chartered Bank (all of which have branches in the country)
locally incorporated and international finance and insurance companiesInterest rates are set by the Association of Banks. All banking activities are closely regulated by the Ministry of Finance through the Department of Financial Services (Treasury), the Brunei Currency Board and the Brunei Investment Agency.
The government has very large foreign reserves and no foreign debt. The Brunei Investment Agency, formed in 1983, is entrusted with the management of the foreign reserves.
Brunei International Financial Centre has been established to encourage financial diversification and the regulated development of the financial services sector in the Brunei economy.
Although Brunei has no central bank, the Ministry of Finance through the Treasury, the Currency Board and the Brunei Investment Agency exercises most of the functions of a central bank. Brunei monetary policy has been determined by the linking the Brunei dollar to the Singapore dollar.
Currency matters are the responsibility of the Brunei Currency Board. It is responsible for the issuing and redemption of state banknotes and coins and the supervision of the banks. The setting up of a Central Monetary Authority is under consideration.

Marketing in Brunei

Bruneiconsumers are quality conscious and therefore prefer to purchase imported products. However, they are also interested in products that are ‘value for money’. Exporters should link with a Brunei-based importer of Australian products.
Promotional fairs are very effective in Brunei. Major supermarket chain stores hold trade and food fairs on a regular basis. The Brunei Commercial Complex is an active venue for trade fairs. Exporters should work with Brunei-based companies through survey and research to build up their market profile.
The Chinese community, who are very familiar with imports from Australia, operate the majority of the supermarkets in Brunei.
The Import and Export Authority are very strict with packaging of products, especially food items. It is advisable to work with a Brunei-based specialist to ensure packaging is suitable for the local market. Non ‘halal’ (not permitted under Islamic law) food products are expected to be displayed in different shelf areas.


In November 2000, the Ministry of Communication initiated the Brunei Eco-Cyber Park with a mandate to transform the Brunei economy into one that is driven by information communications technology (ICT) and to focus on ICT as an engine of growth, which supports e-commerce technology.
Since its launch in 1995, BRUNET has upgraded its Internet infrastructure to 45 megabytes per second to cater to the increasing number of Internet users in Brunei. SimpurNet is DSTCom’s newly-launched Internet service provider.

Logistics in Brunei

The country has two main ports: Muara and Kuala Belait. At Muara there is 12 542 square metres of warehouse space and 6225 square metres of transit sheds.

Brunei International Airport at Bandar Seri Begawan provides recently expanded passenger and cargo facilities. The Royal Brunei Airlines operates flight services to over 30 cities. The major airlines servicing Brunei include Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways. The international airport at Berakas, near the capital, has recently been expanded and modernised.

A 2000 kilometre road network links Maura, the port entry at one end of Brunei, to Belait, the oil-production centre at the western and opposite end of the state.

Business partners in Brunei

Partnerships are not subject to tax in Brunei but may be required to register with the Registrar of Business Names. To form a partnership business in Brunei, the proposed name of the business must be approved first by the Registrar of Companies and Business Names. Foreign individuals are subject to prior clearance by the Immigration Department, Economic Planning Unit and Labour Department before they are registered.

Taken from

BRUNEI: useful links

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