Thursday, April 23, 2009
Brunei is a Malay Muslim monarchy ruled by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the 29th monarch in succession to the throne.
The Sultan is also the Prime Minister heading a team of cabinet ministers. His Majesty is the Defence and Finance Minister. The Ministers each head a ministry and Deputy Ministers assist them in some ministries and Permanent Secretaries in all ministries. The ministries are divided into various departments; each headed by a Director. Brunei's four districts – Brunei Muara, Belait, Tutong and Temburong are each under the supervision of a District Officer. Each District Officer has a team of Mukim heads termed as Penghulus. A Mukim is a sub-division of a district. Each Mukim is divided into various villages headed by Ketua Kampongs (village headmen) Other grassroots representatives are long-house Tuais (elders) and the Pehin Kapitan Cina, who represents the Chinese community.
3. National Language
Malay or Bahasa Melayu is the national and official language of the country. The Malays form the biggest ethnic group in Brunei. However, English is widely spoken and understood especially in the business community. The various indigenous groups speak indigenous dialects in Brunei. Chinese groups speak Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese as well as the national language, Bahasa Melayu.
The country covers an expanse of 5,800 square kilometeres and has a coastline of about l30kms. About 75% of the land is covered in jungle, most of which is pristine rain -forest.
Brunei has a tropical equatorial climate with a high mean temperature of about 28 degrees Celsius. Average annual rainfall is a high 3,295mm while the mean humidity level is in excess of 80%. Climate is largely influenced by seasonal monsoons. The dry months are usually during March to May (the period of uncertain winds and changing monsoons), and the wet months are between November to February (North-East monsoons).
Brunei has an undulating landscape marked by low hills and wide valleys. It has a narrow coastal plain which is intersected by several rivers descending from a mountainous hinterland. Temburong district, the eastern split half, is more hilly and mountainous.
The major Brunei, Tutong, Belait and Temburong rivers and its tributaries drain the valleys. Mangrove swamps usually cover the lower reaches of the rivers and the upper reaches are often stony with rapids in the higher regions. Beaches facing the open sea are sandy and a mixture of sand and mangrove in the areas away from the sea.
The total population stands at 305,100 (1996 figures). Population is concentrated in Brunei-Muara District, along coastal regions and major rivers of the country. Population density is 53 persons per square kilometre. Population growth averages at 3.1% per year. The annual birth and death rates are 2.5% and 0.33% respectively. Life expectancy for men is 72.1 and for women, it is 76.5 years.