• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 11:36pm
CommentInsight & Opinion

Brunei turns back the clock with sharia law

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 4:15am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 8:36am

Brunei officially refers to itself as "the abode of peace". It is a justified moniker given the conservative Muslim nation's laid-back nature, prosperity, low crime rate and citizen contentment due to zero taxes and a long list of free social services. The high level of development thanks to the income from vast oil and gas fields ranks it high on international indexes and, accordingly, it is a valued member of regional and global organisations and signatory to important accords. But its standing has been undermined and image tainted by the implementation this month of strict Islamic sharia law.

Sharia is a draconian system that turns back the clock on international legal and human rights standards. Brunei's first of a three-stage process of implementation introduced on May 1 includes fines and jail terms for offences ranging from indecent behaviour to unmarried women becoming pregnant. Theft and robberies are covered by the second phase later this year, with penalties like flogging and severing of limbs. Stoning to death for offences such as sodomy and adultery take effect at the end of next year. Absolute ruler Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the world's richest men, has been widely criticised for his decision, which he defended as a "must" under islam. Boycotts have been staged against overseas properties he and his family own, among them plush hotels in Los Angeles. His decree makes Brunei the first country in East Asia to nationally adopt the strictest laws of sharia. It takes the criminal legal system for Muslims, who account for two-thirds of the population of 412,000 people, in the same direction as Saudi Arabia, the Malaysian state of Terengganu and the Indonesian province of Aceh. Previously, it implemented Islamic law like Indonesia and Malaysia, with Muslims being required to follow Islamic law only in family, property and religious matters.

Objections to sharia laws are understandable. They restrict human rights and violate international laws. Punishments are discriminatory and cruel. Rejecting the sultan's decision is not an attack on religion; rather it is a defence of basic rights.


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This article is now closed to comments

Max Diethelm
If sharia law was applicable to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and the royal family, would they end up with amputated limbs or being stoned to death? Or would sharia law be applicable to only the common man only?
A Kuro
Since Brunei have implemented sharia law, Brunei's royal family including Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah should also be subjected to sharia law. But will that happen?
P Blair
Isn't penalties like flogging, severing of limbs and Stoning to death called for under sharia law too barbaric? Is Brunei going back into the uncivilised stone age?
Just google Prince Jefri of Brunei. What a paragon of virtue within the Royal family! What does Sharia law say about kidnapping girls and the morality of selling them into slavery? What does Sharia law say about using smartphones to gain access to say pornography - smash the smartphone or cut off the internet - and the punishment for the transgressors overwhelming male? I'm guessing nothing!
How About
Agreed that it should be applicable to his family. But the editorial doesn't offer any reason why Brunei a sultanate with the population size less than Tuen Mun, wants to do so? That the same sultan who has done Brunei proud surely has the just considerations to revert to Sharia?
Have a look at what the Sultan has spent his time doing. ****nypost.com/2014/05/10/inside-the-wacky-sex-obsessed-world-of-brunei/
Its one thing to believe in this fairy-tale, superstitious nonsense, but when you start using it as an excuse to brutalise, repress and mutilate others (especially women) you've become dangerously insane.
Please name an advanced Moslem nation today.
People fail to realise that these punishments lead to peace and serenity in the true Islam(Till the end of the reign of Islamic Shariah).Law through which Allah wills to govern us and that American and British Law is way inferior for it's the lifestyle is that of adulterers and Thieves. No doubt today a vast popularity of Christianity commits adultery as a hobby. It is increasing in Muslims as well because they are adopting this inferior Human Made Law. And well why do Non-Muslims have a problem with it. They fear they'll have to leave this satanic lifestyle very soon.
What about looking at the Sultan himself ? or his sons, who continue to fly in call girls to satisfy their libidos.
The Sultan himself, shortly before Brunei gained independence from UK, was cooped up in a Bangkok hotel, with the entire hotel occupied by his harem of prostitutes.
What a role model the Sultan is .



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