Asia

Brunei sultan urges country to support Islamic law

Brunei sultan urges country to support Islamic law
Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. Photo: REUTERS
Published: 7:16 PM, March 6, 2014

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Brunei’s ruling sultan has urged his people to support the implementation next month of a form of Islamic Shariah law that includes harsh penalties, and says foreign countries should respect the country’s decision.

Starting in April, the Southeast Asian nation will begin phasing in a version of Shariah that allows for penalties such as amputation for theft and stoning for adultery.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah told legislators today that the laws are a “great achievement for the country, and not a backward or old-fashioned step”.

The plans have alarmed international human rights groups.

Sultan Bolkiah said “people outside of Brunei should respect us in the same way that we respect them”.

About 66 per cent of Brunei’s 420,000 people are Muslims, and it has long had a conservative bent. AP