Between restraint and constraint

Couverture ASE2020Marie-Sybille de VIENNE

Brunei’s major concerns are low GDP growth (barely 1% in 2019) and high unemployment, which puts Brunei at the forefront of ASEAN: unemployment for those under 25 is 30%, and part-time work affects one-fifth of the labor force. Since 2005, Brunei’s oil production decreased by half and gas production by a quarter, while the price of hydrocarbons nearly halved between 2013 and 2018. However, the Bruneian economy is still very far from hitting the bottom, especially since its external debt is almost nil. The international community has focused on the full enforcement of the Syariah Penal Code Order (SPCO) on 3 April 2019, which introduced a range of corporal punishments, including death penalty for sexual offenses (adultery and male homosexuality) and religious offenses (apostasy or denigration of the Koran and the Prophet). Regardless of SCPO, some concern about the sustainability of the Bruneian socio-economic model begin to surge.

Keywords: Brunei, Unemployment, Syariah Penal Code, Infrastructures, Governance, Legco