21 May 2015

The Implications of Brunei’s Sharia Law

.... the first phase of sharia law, which include fines and prison sentences for “crimes” such as pregnancies outside of wedlock, propagating religions other than Islam, and not attending mandatory Friday prayers, has been rolled out. Brunei is currently in the process of implementing the second phase, which will introduce harsh punishments such as floggings and cutting off hands for property offenses.

The third and final phase, which will be implemented later this year or in 2016, will introduce executions, including stoning, for offenses like adultery, abortion, homosexuality/sodomy, and even blasphemy. Bolikah has defended his decision, saying that it was “not for fun, but to obey Allah’s command as written in the Quran.” Unfortunately, the leader of Brunei evidently has not thought through the long-term implications that imposing sharia law will have on his country.

In 2008, the Sultan issued Wawasan Brunei 2035, a long-term plan to transmogrify his nation into a type of “Islamic-Singapore,” where the “accomplishments of Brunei’s well-educated and highly skilled people” will be recognized.

Having spent years as a Human Capital Consultant in Southeast Asia, I am convinced that because parts of sharia law will also apply to non-Muslims (who account for roughly 33 percent of Brunei’s population), many intelligent Bruneians will not wish to stay in Brunei and help the Sultan’s plan come to fruition. [The Diplomat] Read more