Brunei
 National Profiles > > Regions > South-Eastern Asia > Brunei
Search National Profiles:

Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? No

Constitution2

Constitution Year 1959
Last Amended As of 5/11/2011, last amendment was made in 2011
Source Attorney General's Chambers (Brunei Darussalam)
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of November 8, 2008

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

Invocation.

In the name of ALLAH, the Compassionate, the Merciful, PRAISE be to ALLAH, the Lord of the Universe, and may the benediction and peace of ALLAH be upon Our Leader Muhammad and upon all his Relations and Friends.
BY THE GRACE OF ALLAH, OMAR ALI SAIFUDDIN SA�ADUL KHAIRI WADDIN IBNI AL-MARHUM MOHAMED JAMALUL-ALAM of Brunei Darussalam and all its Dependencies, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan [Head of State], SOVEREIGN AND CHIEF OF THE MOST ESTEEMED FAMILY ORDER, SOVEREIGN AND CHIEF OF THE MOST HONORABLE ORDER OF THE CROWN OF BRUNEI, ORDER OF SRI MAHKOTA NEGARA, MOST ESTEEMED FAMILY ORDER (FIRST CLASS) KELANTAN, HONORARY KNIGHT COMMANDER OF THE MOST DISTINGUISHED ORDER OF SAINT MICHAEL AND SAINT GEORGE.


Article 2: Interpretation.

(1) In this Constitution, unless the context otherwise requires �
"Chief Syar�ie Judge" means the Chief Syar�ie Judge appointed under the Syariah Courts Act (Chapter 184);
"Islamic Religion" means the Islamic Religion according to the Shafeite sect of Ahlis Sunnah Waljamaah;
"Mufti Kerajaan" means the person appointed as such by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan under the Religious Council and Kadis Courts Act (Chapter 77);
"Muslim revenue and funds" means all revenues and funds to which Part IV of the Religious Council and Kadis Courts Act (Chapter 77) applies;
"Religious Council" means the Religious Council constituted by Part II of the Religious Council and Kadis Courts Act (Chapter 77);


Article 3: Official religion of Brunei Darussalam and religious observance.

(1) The official religion of Brunei Darussalam shall be the Islamic Religion:
Provided that all other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony by the persons professing them.
(2) The Head of the official religion of Brunei Darussalam shall be His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan [Head of State].
(3) The Religious Council shall be the authority responsible for advising His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan [Head of State] on all matters relating to the Islamic Religion.
(4) For the purpose of this Article, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan [Head of State] may, after consultation with the Religious Council, but not necessarily in accordance with the advice of that Council, make laws in respect of matters relating to the Islamic Religion.


Article 4: Executive authority and principal officers.

�(5) The appointment of Ministers and Deputy Ministers shall be made from among the Malay race professing the Islamic Religion, save where His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan [Head of State] otherwise decides.


Article 9: Prerogative of Mercy.

�(5) Before tendering its advice on any matter, the Pardons Board shall consider any written opinion which may have been delivered thereon by the Attorney General on the law applicable and by the Mufti Kerajaan on any aspect of Islamic law. [Note: This clause was not in operation as of the date of the Reprint of this Constitution (November 8, 2008); it had been suspended by the Constitution of Brunei Darussalam (Suspension) Order, 2006, with effect from February 21, 2006.]


Article 30: Disqualification for Members.

No person shall be qualified to be a Member of the Legislative Council who �
�(e) is a murtad [apostate from Islam] in accordance with the Hukum Syara�; or


Article 42: Description of Bills, motions and petitions not to proceed without approval.

(1) Except with the prior approval of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan [Head of State], a Member of the Legislative Council shall not introduce or propose, and the Legislative Council shall not proceed upon, any Bill, any amendment to any Bill, or any motion, petition or business which, in the opinion of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan [Head of State], falls within any of the following classes �
�(e) any Bill, motion, petition or business that may have the effect of lowering or adversely affect directly or indirectly the standing or prominence of the National Philosophy of Melayu Islam Beraja (known in English as Malay Islamic Monarchy);


Article 53: Privileges of Members of Legislative Council.

�(1A) No Member of the Legislative Council shall speak or make any comments �
(a) directly or indirectly derogatory of the rights, status, position, powers, privileges, sovereignty or prerogatives of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan [Head of State], his Successors, His Consort or other members of the Royal Family or the National Philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy; or


Article 69: Exclusion of Muslim revenues and funds.

The provisions of this Part shall not be applicable to Muslim revenues and funds. [Note: this refers to Part VIII (Finance) of the constitution, which includes Articles 56 through 69.]


Article 84A: Appointment to specified offices.

(1) No person shall be appointed to any office specified in the Third Schedule unless he is a citizen of Brunei Darussalam of the Malay race professing the Islamic Religion.
(2) His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan may by Order published in the Gazette amend the Third Schedule.


First Schedule: Forms

Form I: Oath or Declaration to be Taken or Made and Subscribed by a Privy Councillor

WALLAHI WA-BILLAHI WA-TAALLAHI [With Allah as my witness]
I, ________________ (being an ex-officio Member/having been appointed a Member) of His Majesty�s Privy Council (swear by Almighty ALLAH/solemnly and sincerely declare) that, except with the authority of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan [Head of State] I will not directly or indirectly reveal the business or proceedings of the Privy Council, or the nature or contents of any documents communicated to me as a Member of the Council, or any matter coming to my knowledge in my capacity as a Member of the Council and that in all things I will be a true and faithful Privy Councillor.


Form II: Oath to be Taken and Subscribed by the Clerk to the Privy Council and the Secretary to the Council of Ministers

WALLAHI WA-BILLAHI WA-TAALLAHI [With Allah as my witness]
I, ________________ having been appointed (Clerk/Secretary) to the (Privy Council/Council of Ministers) swear by Almighty ALLAH that I will not directly or indirectly reveal such matters as shall be debated in the Council and committed to my secrecy but that I will well and truly serve in the said office as (Clerk/Secretary) to the (Privy Council/Council of Ministers).


Form III: Oath or Declaration to be Taken or Made by a Member of the Council of Ministers

WALLAHI WA-BILLAHI WA-TAALLAHI [With Allah as my witness]
I, ________________ having been appointed a Member of the Council of Ministers (swear by Almighty ALLAH/solemnly and sincerely declare) that, except with the authority of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan [Head of State] I, ________________ will not directly or indirectly reveal the business or proceedings of the Council of Ministers, or the nature or contents of any document communicated to me as a Member of the Council, or any matter coming to my knowledge in my capacity as a Member of the Council, and that in all things I will be a true and faithful Member of the Council of Ministers.


Form IV: Oath or Declaration to be Taken or Made and Subscribed by a Member of the Legislative Council

WALLAHI WA-BILLAHI WA-TAALLAHI [With Allah as my witness]
I, ________________ having been appointed or elected a Member of the Legislative Council (swear by Almighty ALLAH/solemnly and sincerely declare) that I will to the best of my ability and judgment, serve as a true and faithful Member of the Legislative Council.


Form V: Oath to be taken by the Clerk to the Legislative Council

WALLAHI WA-BILLAHI WA-TAALLAHI [With Allah as my witness]
I, ________________ having been appointed Clerk to the Legislative Council swear by Almighty ALLAH that I will well and truly serve in the said office of Clerk to the Legislative Council.


Form VI: Oath or Declaration of Allegiance

WALLAHI WA-BILLAHI WA-TAALLAHI [With Allah as my witness]
I, ________________ (swear by Almighty ALLAH/solemnly and sincerely declare) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan [Head of State] ________________ and His Successors according to law. That I will without fear or favor and to the best of my ability and judgment, serve as a true and faithful member of the public service of Brunei Darussalam.


Third Scheduled: List of Specified Offices

Auditor General
Clerk to the Privy Council
Clerk to the Legislative Council
Chief Syar�ie Judge
Mufti Kerajaan
Attorney General
Chairman of the Public Service Commission
Yang Di-Pertua Adat Istiadat (Chief of the Adat Istiadat)
Speaker of the Legislative Council
Secretary to the Council of Ministers


Invocation.

May ALLAH, to Whom be praise and Whose name be exalted, the King of Kings, vouchsafe His grace and may the Prophet Muhammad (on whom be the benediction and peace of ALLAH) grant His Blessing to this Constitution, for ever and ever. Amen! O Lord of the Universe!
Done at the Lapau, at Brunei this 26th day of Rabiulawal the Hijrah of the Prophet (on Whom be the benediction and peace of ALLAH) One thousand three hundred and seventy-nine corresponding to the 29th day of September, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-nine of the Christian era, being the tenth year of the reign of His Highness.

Sources

1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at arda@pop.psu.edu if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.