BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah gave a televised address on Radio Televisyen Brunei Sunday night to clarify Brunei’s implementation of the Syariah Penal Code.

Here is an English translation of the titah in full:

Alhamdulillah, I am grateful to Allah SWT for his blessings that our country remains peaceful and prosperous.

Insya Allah, let it be with His blessings that we enter the holy month of Ramadhan.

As we approach the holy month of Ramadhan, I would like to wish you all much blessings in performing the fast, which is one of the pillars of Islam.

Let us pray to Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala for our continuous good health and well-being so that we can perform our obligation during the month of Ramadhan in comfort and happiness.

As we are all aware, Brunei Darussalam has begun to fully implement the Syariah Penal Code Order, 2013 (SPCO) on 3 April 2019. This is our religious obligation to Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala as an Islamic country.

The aim of implementing the law is to uphold the objectives of Syariah which are to protect religion, life, lineage, property and intellect.

I am aware that there are many questions and misperceptions with regard to the implementation of the SPCO. We have given clarification to this. We are conscious of the fact that misperceptions may cause apprehension. However, we believe that once these have been cleared, the merit of the law will be evident.

There should not be any concern on the Syariah law as it is full of Allah’s mercy and blessings. Allah, the provider of blessings, will never bestow upon us laws meant to inflict cruelty on others. As evident for more than two decades, we have practised a de facto moratorium on the execution of death penalty for cases under the common law. This will also be applied to cases under the SPCO which provides a wider scope for remission.

In upholding our international commitments and obligations on human rights, Brunei Darussalam will be ratifying the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT). Both the common law and the Syariah law aim to ensure peace and harmony of the country. They are also crucial in protecting the morality and decency of the public as well as respecting the privacy of individuals.

With the righteous intent of implementing this law, may Allah bless us and our country with this holy month of Ramadhan.

Wabillahit Taufeq Walhidayah, Wassalamu ‘Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.