Sultans attitude towards democracy

The state of Brunei has not known democracy for a long time due to the dictatorial nature of the reign of the sultan monarch. The state is a complete monarch thus eliminating chances of an election or other political activities. The sultan is the one who makes the government decisions as illustrated above.

Bolkiah who is the world richest monarch has amassed so much power and wealth that he lives in a palace that is estimated to be worth more than a billion dollars (IBP USA and USA International Business Publications 258). This is without considering the state of his subjects where about 90 percent of them live in abject poverty.

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Freedom of expression is limited in this state as those who protest against the rule of the sultan are jailed sometimes even without trial. The press in this state has also been limited where they are so much restricted that they cannot criticize the royal family since this can easily earn themselves a jail term of up to three years for making any kind of criticism to the royal family.

The dominance of the sultan in this state can be seen everywhere in the country. For instance, the photo of the royal king must be placed on the wall of every shop and office.

Recently, Brunei through the leadership of sultan Bolkiah has been making e few steps towards democracy. This has been noted with the 2004 democratic reform that made the sultan reinstate the parliament for the first time since the state gained their independence in 1984.

The citizens of this state saw this as a strong step towards the attainment of democracy in this monarch state. In addition, the popularity of the sultan was intensified by his decision to remove the four members of the cabinet from office after they planned to expand religious education, a decision which many parents in this state did not want.

Citizens happiness

The happiness and satisfaction of any people is stirred up by various aspects. Firstly, security in the wealth that a country possesses is a major source of citizens satisfaction and happiness. This is because the citizens are guaranteed that their economy will be able to provide their needs.

Making a living is a concern of every individual thus; it becomes an important determiner of the individual satisfaction. The people of the state of Brunei are enjoying satisfaction at the present. This is because the benefits that their government provides in terms of free education, health facilities and tax evasion among others are a source of their satisfaction.

These benefits therefore, enable them to enjoy satisfactory family life and good health without having to worry about economic strains. Happiness is not as a result of abundance since abundance leads to satisfaction but not all satisfied individuals are happy. On one hand, one would say that the individuals of this state are satisfied but not necessarily happy.

This is because being in one rule for so long yet the leadership of this state is dictatorial has brought unhappiness to the citizens of this nation. This is particularly due to their lack of an alternative as any reaction to this rule would attract tough measures from the government.

In addition, though the government has made subsidies and other provisions for the citizens of this state, there are still those who live in abject poverty. When these individuals compare themselves with their leader who is leading an affluent life, they may get dissatisfied thus attracting unhappiness in their lives.

The sultan is very rich and besides being the richest monarch on the globe, he owns a residential palace which is the largest in the world. This palace is so large that it has 1,788 rooms and 257 bathrooms and lies on an area of 2,200,000 square feet.

The countrys partners

Brunei as a state has countries that it can call friends while others are her enemies. Most of the countries that Brunei relates with are in terms of trade and diplomacy. Canada is one of these countries. Canada and Brunei have been allies since the times of Bruneis independence.

After the establishment of their diplomatic relations, Brunei established its chancery in this nation and after which Canada opened one in Brunei the following year (Government of Canada para 3-6).

The two nations cooperate in issues of regional security and other international relation issues. They are also trade partners especially since Canada is a good market for the oil and gas products from Brunei.

Future prospects

The future prospects of Brunei economy are headed to stability if the plans the government has set aside for this purpose are implemented. With the inclusion of foreign entrepreneurship in domestic trade, the economy is bound to become better and even more stable.

The government regulations that have open possibilities of increase in foreign investors in this state are an added advantage to the growth prospects of the economy. In addition, the encouragement of private investment as opposed to citizens depending only on the government for employment will nurture the culture of entrepreneurship among the citizens.

The states richness in the high-priced commodities like oil and gas, its strategic location and possession of enough human capital will be a boost to the growth of the economy of this state.

According to Asian Development Bank (para 3-5), the current prospects indicate that if the state embraces the right policy reforms, regional cooperation and the effective strategies of encouraging industrial competitiveness, the economy of this state will continue to show improvement and growth.

The establishment of a new monetary authority by the government in January 2011 will also serve to improve policies and activities that will steer development into new high heights in this state. This is because the authority will streamline the monetary policy and currency trading activities.

In addition, it will also monitor the activities of financial institutions to ensure that they are operating as expected. The plans that the government has taken to diversify the economic sources is a good strategy to achieve sustainable development in the future as the state will be able to support itself when the hydrocarbon reserves run out.

At the beginning of 2011, the government came up with a that was named Wawasan Brunei 2035. This plan which is aimed at reducing the overreliance on oil and gas as the only sources of revenue for the economy will be effective in achieving sustainable development.

This is because at the present, these products contribute 94 percent of all the revenue of the government of this state. In addition, these same products are the highest contributor to the states exports standing up to 96 percent of all the states export and contributing 69 percent of the total GDP.

Since these reserves are estimated to run out by the period of 20 to 30 years to come, the plans to diversify the economy are in line with achieving sustainability.

Though these economic prospects are good for this state, implementing them may pose a challenge. This is because the culture and other factors may hinder the progress of these prospects. For instance, this state has ecotourism potential as a result of its unexploited natural landscape and the friendly tropical climate. However, the state has a very conservative culture.

Being a Muslin state, their strict laws on behavior and alcohol might hinder the growth of this sector. The government has not tapped this rich source of income either. Although plans are outlined and the need to increase tourism in this state reinforced, none of these plans is implemented to the letter. This is due to various political and social reasons.

Firstly, the government officials are not very welcoming to the visitors may be due to the fear of the criticism the visitors would raise about their leadership which may in turn spill over to the larger public, leading to revolts (The Economist, para 4).

Due to lack of government support, this industry has remained unfruitful even with the countrys possession of attractive sites for the tourists. For instance, the recent government decision to eliminate some of the sites that may act as attraction areas for the tourist has served to answer the question of the government commitment to its prospects.

Some of these sites include the previous sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin. This famous museum had a rich collection of Winston Churchill memorabilia and a large aquarium to show the regions tropical fish. It was however converted to a less popular site by making it a Constitutional History Museum.

In addition, though the government of Brunei has the required resources to provide efficient infrastructure and can also provide the necessary attractive package to ensure that multinational companies invest in this nation, the plans it has underway are not guaranteed.

For instance, the governments development of a port at Pulau Muara Besar which is aimed at generation of more employment positions for the citizens will create unnecessary competition with the already operational transshipment hubs.

Some of these hubs include ports like Port of Singapore and Malaysias Port Klang. The current tax system may not be an appropriate strategy in an economy that is not energy-based. The state therefore requires a transformation in its tax system and a change in the relationship of the state to the citizens.

This means that though the government has put in place plans to diversity the economy, little effort is being made to actualize these plans in order to achieve sustainable economy.

Brunei future political prospects are based on the actions that the monarch has in mind. This is because lacking political diversity means that the future of politics is in the hands of his dictatorial regime. There are various strategies that the state has put in place to ensure security and prosperity in its politics.

Firstly, the states government is seeking ways to establish cohesion and stability of the state with the guidance of the philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy. Secondly, the state is seeking ways of stabilizing its regional environment where it can pursue its national goals without external interferences.

Maintaining its defense and military capabilities is another agenda that the government is planning. This is in its attempts to preserve the states sovereignty, freedom and independence and protection of the states territorial integrity.


The current situation of this state may not attract a revolt from the citizen. This is because though the state lacks democracy and power is only concentrated in the office of the sultan, the citizens are enjoying the benefits of the states wealth endowment from the countrys oil and gas wealth.

This therefore means that the benefits the citizens are getting from the government like free education and provision of jobs without being imposed to pay any taxes are a source of relief to them. However, this is not likely to go on for a long time.

This is because the depletion of the main sources of income for this state are drawing near yet the stand by diversification plans have not been implemented fully to counter-attack this challenge. As a result, in the very near future, the government might be unable to provide the range of benefits it is offering to its citizens at the present.

This will increase the citizens demand for a government that is more accountable and one which will give them the democracy that they have lacked for so long. As a result, Brunei may encounter future social unrest most of which will be stirred by economic shift. Having in mind that sultan lifestyle and that of his citizens requires a sustainable income; the government needs to prepare for the future.

This is because the government finances through the economy if not strengthened, social and political problems will emerge leading to uncertainties and upheavals among the citizens. The current state has already started posing a challenge to this government.

This is because the population of this state is increasing, leading to pressure in the number of individuals who require employment. This is particularly because this growth in population is not measuring up to the same growth in the GDP growth.

As a result, the state is being faced by the threat of lower GDP per capita. In addition, the structure of the population of Brunei is composed of a greater percentage of a young population where 47 percent of the population is below the age of 25 years.

With little growth in the public sector which is mostly in the area of teaching and negligible growth in the private sector, the country is being faced with a challenge of employment of the many school leavers who require jobs.

The current level of job seekers has already exceeded 7,000 individuals and this number is expected to increase in the future. Rise in the level of unemployment is known to be leading causes of revolts in other countries like Egypt. With Brunei experiencing this challenge especially on its young population means that chances of revolts and uprisings in the future are high.

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