When a group of brothers went on a journey for a new place to call home, they came across an area at the Brunei River and settled there because of the flanking hills, the water supply and the generous supply of fish, close to the country’s present capital. One of them was Awang Alak Betatar, who became the first Sultan of Brunei and took on the name Sultan Muhammad Shah when he embraced Islam.
Malay Islamic Monarchy and Islam
On January 1st, 1984, Brunei became a new nation, as it celebrated its independence and affirmed its identity as a Malay and Islamic state governed by a monarchy. The philosophy of the Malay Islamic Monarchy, known as ‘Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB)’ in Malay, encapsulates Brunei’s culture and beliefs in a nutshell.
It’s why we speak the Malay language, and still practice the Malay culture and customs which revolve around community, and have Islamic laws and values, with a mutual respect between the monarchy and the subjects. It’s tradition and religion interlaced together, making it uniquely Bruneian.
Brunei is predominantly made up of Malays (65.8%), with significant Chinese (10.2%), Indian and indigenous populations (23.9%). In that way, its cultural makeup is similar to that of Malaysia. However, ask a Bruneian Malay what their ethnicity is, and you’ll most likely get either one of seven answers.
The Malay population is divided into seven ethnic groups: Melayu Brunei, Kedayan, Dusun, Tutong, Belait, Murut, and Bisaya. (Note that two of them are actually named after two of Brunei’s districts, which gives you a hint as to where most of them live!)
Each ethnicity is characterised by distinct aspects of its culture and lifestyle, and possesses its own native language as well as customs and traditions.
ABODE OF PEACE
Brunei Darussalam boasts a colourful exhibit of fascinating customs and rich nature, with a contemplative respect for religion as well as reverence for its ancient sovereignty, and we’d like to invite you to experience it all, right in the heart of our home!
Brunei enjoys a healthy economy and political stability, which is largely thanks to the abundant oil and gas reserves, allowing the people to enjoy a comfortable way of life.
Facts & Traits
Everything you need to know about Brunei today, and a look at how the country’s history has influenced its society.
Brunei is a tightly-knit, conservative community filled with warm politeness, evident in the way we speak, dress and carry ourselves. There also are hidden wonders in the vast expanses of the rainforests!