Country Reports

Brunei Darussalam Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

Brunei is a sultanate, with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah serving as head of state, prime minister, defence minister, foreign minister, and finance minister. The sultan does not face any challenge to his authority. There is also no sign of transfer of power to Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah, who is currently a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. Since 1962, Brunei has been in a state of emergency, renewed every two years, allowing the sultan to circumvent parliament and run the government by decree. Brunei has reported very few cases of COVID-19 and has implemented measures to mitigate the spread, including closures of religious places of worship and severe limits on international commercial arrivals. In general, Brunei’s government is strong, and its healthcare system should be capable to managing a broader outbreak (if reported).Brunei’s economy relies heavily on oil and gas, with oil production contributing to about 45% of the GDP. Although low oil prices in 2016 had reduced the government’s ability to fund its spending, the country’s economic prospects are expected to improve in the near term in line with a gradual recovery in oil and gas production and accelerating construction activity. IHS Markit expects Brunei’s GDP growth to settle in the mid-4% range during the next few years. With government spending likely to increase, the focus will be on building infrastructure, particularly on the Pulau Muara Besar island for the construction of a major oil refinery, which is backed by a mainland Chinese firm. Construction on an ammonia and urea plant is continuing, with production expected by 2021. Since the public sector accounts for about 56% of employment, the uptick in government spending and increased hiring for upcoming investment projects will probably have direct economic benefits. Increased government efforts to bring in foreign workers are also likely to contribute to increased domestic demand during the near term.
Last update: August 12, 2020

Operational Outlook

The government welcomes foreign investment and has a low corporate tax regime. The public sector dominates the business environment, and the government has a plan to privatise government agencies but has not made significant progress. Brunei's transport infrastructure, including roads, ports, and bridges, is undergoing modernisation. The small size of the population and the large size of the public sector have made Brunei dependent on foreign workers in the private sector, making the labour market highly flexible. Corruption levels are also low, and the few reported cases involve low-level bribes.

Last update: August 11, 2020


The crime rate in Brunei is low, and violent crime remains rare. The most common kinds of crime are burglary and petty theft. The country's strict anti-drug laws, which include the death penalty, act as a firm deterrent to drug-related criminality. Foreign visitors and businesses are not particular targets of crime. There have been instances of police officers being sentenced to prison for accepting bribes.

Last update: August 11, 2020

War Risks

Brunei claims a tiny part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. However, it has continued to maintain amicable links with other claimants, including China and Malaysia, and is unlikely to become involved in escalation between the larger claimants. Expanding investment ties with China further reduces the likelihood of confrontation between the two countries.

Brunei's land border dispute with Malaysia over the district of Limbang was resolved in 2009, when Brunei dropped its claim to the district. After 2009, progress has been made regarding demarcating the borders and controlling cross-border traffic, indicating amicable relations between the two countries.

Last update: August 11, 2020

Social Stability


Brunei's social stability is underpinned by high living standards, funded by hydrocarbon revenue and tight state control. Social unrest has been extremely rare since 2009 when Bangladeshi workers protested over unpaid wages. There is no indication of an increased risk of civil unrest.

Last update: August 11, 2020

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Brunei. However, the government requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Japanese encephalitis: Japanese encephalitis is typically only present in rural areas. Discuss travel plans with your doctor to decide if you need the JE vaccine, which is administered in two doses spaced over a month. The last dose should be administered at least ten days prior to departure for an at-risk area to be fully effective.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high
Last update: April 5, 2019


Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information


Brunei's climate is hot and humid throughout the year. Temperatures are generally pleasant (23°C to 32°C). The rainy season begins in September and lasts until January. The dry season (or the drier season), extends from February until April.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: 673
Police: 993
Fire Dept.: 995
Ambulance: 991


Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz


Last update: April 5, 2019