BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei has withdrawn from hosting the 34th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2027, the minister of culture, youth and sports announced on Tuesday.

The minister, however, did not disclose the reasons behind the decision.

Speaking during the daily COVID press briefing, YB Dato Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Hj Abidin said Brunei’s intention to host in 2027 was only tentative, pending confirmation by the government.

Clarifying a viral post on social media, YB Dato Hj Aminuddin said it was not an official announcement and that the post contained “false and baseless statements”.

Brunei was touted as a possible host country for the 2027 Games in July last year, but it officially withdrew from hosting during a meeting of the Southeast Asian Games Federation Council on December 7.

“After detailed assessment, Brunei decided to withdraw from the tentative agreement,” the minister said. “[A statement] was delivered by the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council during the meeting.”

Indonesia has since expressed its readiness to host the 2027 SEA Games.

The sultanate also gave up hosting rights for the 2019 Games citing financial and logistical reasons. The event was eventually hosted by the Philippines. Brunei last hosted the biennial games in 1999.

YB Dato Hj Aminuddin said the decision would not stop ongoing repair and renovation works at local sports facilities.

“Repairs, renovations and any upgrading works planned are not just happening because of the SEA Games. It’s also being carried out for the use of our community and athletes in the long run. So this will continue whether we host or not.” 

Some of the sites being upgraded are the Menglait Complex and Indoor Stadium Hassanal Bolkiah, which is slated for completion by October 2022.