Brunei Geography and Population

By | January 8, 2023

OFFICIAL NAME: Negara Brunei Darussalam

CAPITAL CITY: Bandar Seri Begawan

POPULATION: 408,800 (2011)

AREA: 5,270 km²

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Malay, English, Chinese

RELIGION: Muslims 67%, Buddhists 13%, Christians 10%, indigenous religions and 10%

COIN: brunei-dollar




POPULATION COMPOSITION: Malays 62%, Chinese 15%, tribes (including iban) 6%, others 17%

GDP PER residents: $ 24800 (2007)

LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 75 years, women 79 years (2007)




Brunei, independent Islamic sultanate of NW Borneo. The country is divided into two enclaves, both surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Brunei has a significant oil and gas production, and measured in GDP per. population, it is one of the richest countries in the world.

The sultan has autocratic power, and formally the country’s national fortune is his personal property; he is thus one of the richest men in the world with a fortune estimated at 30-40 billion. dollars.

National flag

The flag was developed during the 1900-t. A completely yellow tablecloth was the sultan’s flag, but in 1906 the diagonal white and black stripe was added as a mark of British patronage. In 1959, the flag was officially fixed and the state emblem, whose main figure is the Islamic lying crescent, was inserted.


The population living particularly in coastal cities area and preferably consists of Malays (about 2/3) and Chinese (~ 15%). Indigenous tribes, who live by traditional sweating in the interior of the country, make up the remaining small part.

  • Countryaah: Do you know how many people there are in Brunei? Check this site to see population pyramid and resident density about this country.

Agriculture occupies only 5% of the area and 80% of the food is imported. Apart from the sweat farm, agriculture is run mainly as a side business. The main crops are rice, coconut, cassava and various animal products.

Absolutely dominant for the country’s economy is the oil and gas sector. Oil and especially gas production contribute 50% of GDP. Production takes place offshore in the South China Sea and is handled by Royal Dutch Shell in a joint venture with the Sultan. The natural gas is cooled and exported as liquefied gas; Japan is declining almost all production.

The industrial sector is small and mainly linked to oil and gas. Wage costs in affluent Brunei are, in the context of Southeast Asia, high in relation to the skills of the workforce. The construction industry has been very large, but was slowed down by low oil prices in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The public service sector is significant; Malays are preferred for these duties, while the Chinese are particularly employed in the oil, construction and trade sectors.

The large national wealth is mainly invested in long-term government debt securities from OECD countries. Together with the export earnings, the annual return on these investments finances public expenditure, including an expanded social, health and education system. Thus, there is no personal income tax in Brunei and import duties are irrelevant.

Nature. Most of Brunei is tropical rainforest and swampy coastal areas; the precipitation varies from 2500 mm at the coast to 3800 mm inland. The infrastructure reflects the location of population and production; the road network is not extensive and completely concentrated in the coastal region.


Brunei’s excellent port played a commercial role as the center of an empire on North Borneo, even before it became part of the Hindu Majapaite Empire (1294-approx. 1479). From the 1400’s. Islam began to spread throughout the Malay world, and Brunei became the center of Islamic merchants’ activities, especially after the Portuguese occupied Malacca in 1511. Brunei’s rajah (prince) converted to Islam and began a major mission and conquest activity that brought Northwest Borneo and the Sulu Islands under his rule. In the middle of the 1500’s. Portugal concluded a treaty with Brunei, which lay on the passage north of Borneo to the East Indonesian Islands. Eventually, the Spaniards from the Philippines put an end to Brunei’s expansion to the east.

From 1841-81, the Sultan of Brunei ceded the Sarawak and Sabah territories to European individuals and had to conclude treaties with Britain. In 1888 the sultanate came under British protection; in 1906 it became a protectorate with a British resident as the sultan’s top adviser in all areas.

Brunei was occupied by Japan 1941-45. Rich deposits of oil, which had been known before World War II, became after the war a prerequisite for a new status for Brunei as a nation state. Unlike Sarawak and Sabah, who both became states in Malaysia, the Sultan of Brunei preferred an independent country under British protection (1979). In 1984, however, England definitively withdrew from the territory. Brunei’s goal is to achieve full membership in the regional Southeast Asian cooperation organizations, and in 1984 the country became a member of ASEAN. Brunei experienced an economic downturn during the low oil and gas prices of the 1990’s. The crisis intensified when the sultan’s brother with dubious business unleashed a major financial scandal with billions in losses. However, rising gas prices have improved the economy since 1999.

Brunei is ruled by the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (b. 1946), but in 2004 a parliament was opened with members appointed by the Sultan. The Constitution also provides for the possibility of elected members, but no (2014) date has been set for an election.

In 2014, the country decided to introduce Islamic law (sharia).

Brunei Geography