The sultan first proposed the sharia penal code in 1990s, and in recent years has increasingly warned of rising crime and pernicious outside influences including the internet. He has called Islam a ‘firewall’ against globalisation. He announced the implementation plans in October. … Muslim ethnic Malays, who make up about 70% of the population, are broadly supportive of the move by their revered father-figure. But some Malays and non-Muslim citizens privately express unease. About 15% of Brunei’s people are non-Muslim ethnic Chinese.The move could indicate the sultan is becoming more conservative as he ages, said Joseph Chinyong Liow, a Singapore-based professor of Muslim politics. ‘The sultan himself is at a point where there is a need to come to terms with religious identity, both personally and for the country,’ he said.
May 6, 2014 at 5:13 AM EDT