Brunei. In May, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah dismissed four ministers and unexpectedly carried out the first major government reform in 17 years. The biggest change was the dismissal of the Minister of Education. He had been sitting in the post for 20 years, but had been criticized by middle-class parents since he expanded religion teaching at the expense of science and technology. A new portfolio was introduced: an energy minister responsible for the country’s important oil reserves.
According to countryaah, Bandar Seri Begawan is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Brunei. The redevelopment meant more young ministers, and new were also ministers with experience from the private business community. Among the new ministers, there was also a non-Muslim for the first time. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah raised his son, Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah, from Deputy to Ordinary Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. According to analysts, the sultan thus wanted to make sure that the eldest son inherited the throne.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym BN stands for the country of Brunei and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
Analysts saw the transformation of government as another step towards modernizing the state apparatus after the re-establishment of parliament in 2004. In August, another step was taken in the democratization process. Then the National Development Party (NDP) was registered as the country’s third political party. All political parties were banned in 1962, but in the 1980s and 1990s, two parties were allowed. However, these two, the Brunei National Solidarity Party (PPKB) and the People’s Awareness Party (PKR), are not active.
Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore signed a free trade agreement in June – the first between countries on both sides of the Pacific. The agreement, which was to enter into force at the beginning of 2006, entails duty free between countries and a liberalization of trade in services.
HUMAN AND ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
Southeast Asian state, located in the northern sector of the island of Borneo. At the 2001 census the population was 332,844 residents, of which over 66 % represented by Malays (according to 2005 estimates, around 374,000ab.). The number of Chinese, the main ethnic minority group, forced to emigrate due to the sense of insecurity resulting from a policy that tends to enhance the Malay culture and characterize the state in an Islamic sense, has significantly decreased. The smallness of the territory as well as the progressive loss of importance of agriculture with respect to extraction, processing and above all service activities, were the basis of the considerable growth of the urban population, which in 2003 represented 76.2 % of the total..
For the value of the GDP per capita, which in 2003 exceeded $ 23,000, Brunei ranks among the top twenty countries in the world ranking, alongside many Western states and in a similar but better position than the classic oil producers of the Near and Middle East. However, this indicator is not sufficient to count Brunei among the developed countries, given the overwhelming dependence of its economy on hydrocarbons (8.5 million tons of crude oil in 2003), wealth disparities, the social conditions of a large part of the population. The country remains on the lookout for new projects that will allow it to diversify the economy and reduce unemployment. In addition to oil, the subsoil is rich in natural gas (11,000 million m 3 in 2003), which, extracted from the Seria field, is liquefied directly in Lumut, in one of the largest plants of its kind in the world. Another resource is represented by the extensive rainforests, which cover approximately 80 % of the land area.