Moving forward to realize its national vision, the ‘Wawasan 2035 Negara Zikir’, which calls for Brunei to become the purest Islamic economy in the region by the year 2035, the Sultanate in 2011 enacted new regulations banning gender mixing in local beauty and health establishments, including laws that prevent male employees from attending female clients and vice versa, and to keep male and female strictly separated within the premises.
Brunei capital Bandar Seri Begawan
Beauty and health establishments, as defined under Bruneian laws, refer to any premises that provide any of the following services; massage, sauna; spa; gymnasium; aerobics; aromatherapy; body-slimming; manicure and pedicure; reflexology; and hair salon.
The regulations states that heath and beauty businesses are prohibited from displaying photographs or writing articles that are considered “too sexy” at their premises, and all their employees must dress and cover decently on the job. The amendment also states it is illegal for licensees to employ anyone who looks like a prostitute. Doors in any areas where treatment services are given must not allowed to be locked, so to enable the authorities to conduct on-spot inspection at anytime.
A beauty salon located in the vicinity of capital Bandar Seri Begawan was ordered to temporarily close yesterday after enforcement personnel caught four men getting their manicure and pedicure done by female staff, a violation of the Miscellaneous Licences Act under the Beauty & Health Establishment Amendment 2011.
Things like this is not allowed in Brunei
The Enforcement Unit of BSB Municipal Department reminded members of the public and business owners to always comply with the rules and regulations of the Miscellaneous Licence Act, as Brunei is a MIB (Melayu Islam Beraja) country. The state ideology, MIB, stressed that the Malay is to be a dominant race and culture in Brunei, with Islam the official religion, and the Monarchy having absolute power over all administration. Under such philosophy, half of the country’s ethnic Chinese and Iban are denied citizenship, making a total 5% of its population stateless.
For the past several years, Brunei had imposed harsh crackdowns on its beauty and health establishments, prompting rumors that the country is seeking to shut down the industry. In 2011, authorities announced that no more new employment quota is to be given for health and beauty businesses, and permits for foreign workers in the industry would not be renewed upon expiration.
In another move last year, Brunei issued a new instruction requiring that all business premises and offices, centers of entertainment, recreation and sports including Cineplex and playground, foodstalls, markets and other business establishments must close for 2 hours on every Fridays from 12pm to 2pm. This would in effect, bring the country’s entire commercial activities to a halt for 2 hours on Friday. In his titah, the Sultan of Brunei said that the new ruling was to uphold the image of the nation as an Islamic country and to prevent errant Muslims from skipping the obligatory prayers.
A banner promoting the ‘Negara Zikir’ vision in Brunei
After enjoying a modest growth in 1990s, the country is burdened with a stagnated economy since 2000 that has now become ASEAN slowest-growing. Following an incessant fall in living standard when adjusted to inflation and consecutive failures in economic planning, Brunei is increasingly turning towards religion for spiritual support. The nation has the worst tourist arrivals in the region - 4 times less than runner-up Myanmar - and will also have the weakest capital market in Southeast Asia by 2015, being the only nation in ASEAN without a stock market.
The economic decline of Brunei is visibly apparent. Prior to its independence from Great Britain, in 1980, the Bruneian per capita GDP was 5.3 times higher than Singapore and 11 times that of Malaysia. Singapore has reversed the trend and is now 28% wealthier than Brunei. The gap has also been narrowed with Malaysia. Bruneian per capita is now only 3.7 times that of Malaysia.
http://www.bt.com.bn/news-national/2012 … s-unveiled