Brunei’s State Legislative Council

National 3 minutes, 2 seconds

What is LegCo?

LegCo is the annual forum where His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam delivers to ministers national directives to be followed, introdues issues to be addressed, and hears from ministers and other representatives from society the issues Brunei as a nation is currently facing. Including His Majesty, LegCo currently comprises a total of 28 members, many of whom are guaranteed the right to take part in the proceedings by the Constitution.

Why is it important?

Apart from being a mechanism for delivering policy, LegCo provides an opportunity for governmental heads and representatives of the people to provide feedback on policy being implemented and to debate policies that are being considered or yet to be introduced. Previous LegCo sessions have shown that such debates often become "spirited", with LegCo members becoming increasingly vocal to air their views on issues and how they are being handled.

Developments debated at LegCo often become focal points for news as the issues debated either already affect the common people, or soon will.

Who are LegCo?

LegCo is headed by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Minister of Finance.

HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah is present as the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, and HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah is present as the Duli Pengiran Perdana Wazir and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The other 11 ministers forming the Cabinet are also present as representatives of their respective portfolios.

Also present are two representatives representing the Cheteria and the traditional State Dignitaries.

Six members are chosen to specifically represent the interests of a broad cross-section of society, and come from a wide range of business, religious and social groups. Their inclusion is prescribed in the Constitution.

Also constitutionally mandated are four representatives, one from each district, who are either Ketua Kampung (village heads) or Penghulus (mukim, or subdistrict, heads).

LegCo sessions are moderated by a Speaker and administered by the Clerk of the State Legislative Council.

See below for the full list of representatives this year.

When was it formed?

With its informal origins stretching back centuries, the Legislative Council in its modern form dates back to the promulgation of the Constitution on September 29, 1959. The old State Council of the British Resident era was dismantled and replaced by an Executive Committee and a Legislative Council. Thus the current State Legislative Council was born.

After the unsuccessful rebellion in 1962, the Legislative Council was revised in 1963. The Council was to consist of 21 members, 10 of whom shall be directly elected. The rest were to be six ex-officio members and five unofficial members appointed by the Sultan.

The Legislative Council continued to meet until 1983 when it was suspended.

The Legislative Council met again on September 25, 2004 for the first time in 20 years, with 21 members appointed by His Majesty and that council passed a number of constitutional amendments. That council was dissolved on September 1, 2005 before a new council was appointed as of September 2, 2005. The new council met in March 2006, 2007 and again in 2008.

Where is LegCo held?

The new Legislative Council building, officially opened during the March 2008 session, is the second permanent building to be built for the Legislative Council. The previous one was the Lapau in the city centre, which was completed in 1968. That was used by the Legislative Council until 1983.

The International Convention Centre was used for the Council meetings from 2005 to 2007. The Civic Centre, now Taib bank's headquarters, was used in the 1960s. Previously, just after WWII, the Council met in the wooden Kajang Building.

The Brunei Times