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Background Of The Monarchy System In Brunei

Critical Review Of The Case




This paper aim to study about monarchy system in Brunei and about what Plato and

Aristotle think of monarchy. A monarchy is a country that is ruled by a monarch and monarchy is

this system or form of government. A monarch are such as a king or queen, rules a kingdom or

empire. In a constitutional monarchy, the monarch's power is limited by a constitution. But in an

absolute monarchy, the monarch has unlimited power. Monarchy is an old form of government,

and the word has been around a long time (Shukla, 2007). It derives from Greek monarkhiā, from

monarkhos "monarch." Monarchies are often hereditary, meaning that one family hands down the

office from one generation to the next. While democracy as a form of government first appeared

in ancient Greece, the history of the monarchical form of government is even more ancient.

In the history, monarchical government began around 3000 B.C in the Sumer and Egypt.

The first states were mostly monarchies as far as we can tell and they were ruled by kings or

queens. But is it not the first or early states that have kings and queens. After all there are still

many countries which is still have king and queen until today. Some of the examples of places

which were rules by king and queen is Brunei.

There are two type of monarchy, first Absolute monarchy and second is constitutional

monarchy. Absolute monarchy is such monarchical form of government where the monarch has

the power to rule his or her land or the state and their citizens freely. All the people and properties

of the nation is belong to him or her. In an absolute monarchy, there is no constitution or body of

the law above is decreed by the sovereign. As a theory of civics, absolute monarchy puts all trust

in well-bred and well-trained monarchs raised for the role from birth. Current existing absolute

monarchies are Brunei, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland and Vatican City.

Meanwhile constitutional monarchy it is such a constitutional government where the

monarch is bound by the national constitution. Most of the constitutional monarchies have a

parliamentary system in which the elected king or queen is the head of the government and this

type of monarchy is known as limited monarchy too. Constitutional monarchy begin in Europe

after the France Revolution in 1790s. General Napoleon Bonaparte is considered the first monarch

proclaiming himself as embodiment of the nation, rather than as a divinely-appointed ruler, this

interpretation of monarchy is basic to continental constitutional monarchies (HIH.n.d).


Brunei is one of the only two absolute monarchies left in Asia and the other is in Bhutan.

The sultan is descended from a centuries-old royal line or maintained by intermarriage among their

cousins. In Brunei, no political opposition and almost no political activity are allowed. Even

though they did not allow to do political opposition, but Bruneians are proud to have the world’s

oldest reigning monarchy and the only remaining Malay Islamic Monarchy (Hays, 2015).

In a one-family dominant system, it is closeness to the family that determines the

dispensation of appointments and rewards. For younger Bruneians who have strayed from the path

or who have otherwise been tempted by the fruits of modernization, correct behavior-and indeed,

thought-is carefully spelled out in the form of a national ideology. Brunei has adopted the national

philosophy of the Malay Islamic Monarchy (Melayu Islam Beraja), a system that includes strong

Malay cultural influences, stressing the importance of Islam in daily life and governance, and

respect for the monarchy as represented by His Majesty the Sultan since gaining independence

from the British in 1984.

It is a philosophy of tolerance, which enables different societies to take after individual

conventions and to hone different religions. Individuals in Brunei respect the government with

profound veneration and amazement. People in Brunei are exceptionally watchful not to annoy the

sultan. Brunei has lèse majesté laws and it has used them to prosecute insults to imperial relatives.

It is an offense to unveil data about regal family's riches. Bruneians respect the sultan on his

birthday July 15th with celebrations and parades. Brunei monarchy system has the division of

being the oldest unbroken dynasty in the world. The sultanate of Brunei and its Malay sultans have

been around for around 700 years and it was establish since 13th century when the price from

western Borneo become a sultan (California Press, 1992).

The Sultan of Brunei is the head of state, incomparable official specialist and outright ruler

of Brunei. He is head of government as Prime Minister. Since freedom from the British in 1984,

just a single Sultan has ruled, however the regal foundation goes back to the fourteenth century.

In 1991, the Sultan presented something many refer to as the Malay Muslim Monarchy which

made the government the safeguard of the Muslim confidence in Brunei. The full title of the Sultan

is: His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

As BBC reports, Brunei, formally named the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace, is a

miniscule nation settled away in the East Asian island of Borneo. Brunei was of little significance

to the outside world, composes Vanity Fair, until the point that the disclosure of massive oil holds

while under British manage in 1926.

The little country, with a landmass equivalent to that of Delaware, has been represented by

supreme ruler Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah since the country picked up its autonomy in 1968.

Following its fulfillment of political power, Brunei industrialized and increased tremendous riches.

The sultan himself amassed a huge fortune of about $20 billion.


Based on Plato, the best way to from the government is absolute monarchy. He said that a

philosopher king is a true statesman and he would provide everyone his ‘due’. According to Plato,

absolute monarchy is not tyranny because the rule of the philosopher king is on the basic of the

reason and not on appetite. He serves all his subjects on equal footings. He is superior to law

because the law is the recognized form of customs and public opinion that are not too pure while

a philosopher has true wisdom and he is the outcome of the Platonic educational scheme (Farooq,


The idea of philosopher king was also born in Plato’s dialogue republic as part of the vision

of a just city. Philosopher king is an idea according to which the best form of government is that

in which philosophers rule. It was influential in the Roman Empire and was revived in European

political thought in the age of the absolutist monarchy (Lane, n.d).

According to Aristotle view, a state with only one ruler is either a monarchy or a tyranny,

a state that have several rulers is either an aristocracy or an oligarchy and lastly a state in which

all ruler is either a polity or a democracy. Although he believed monarchy to be the best in possible

state on principle. Aristotle recognized that in practice it is legally responsible to degenerate into

the worst possible state, a tyranny. Aristotle therefore recommend the formation of policy or

constitutional government, since its degenerate form is the least harmful of the government. As

always, Aristotle defended the mean rather that run the risk of either extreme (Kemerling, 2011).

Plato considers Monarchy and Aristocracy “essentially the same,” Aristotle being more

realist separates these types by the very empirical question “how many people rule”. So there is

not much difference in quality between how a philosopher king or philosopher kings would rule.

The highest forms are absolute, so anyone tuned in enough will hear the same message, and anyone

wise enough will make the right decisions. more in Plato's terms, this time talking just of the better

than average into timocracy, nobility progresses toward becoming timocracy when (utilizing a

father and child allegory): The refined father energizes the normal piece of his child's spirit. Be

that as it may, the child is impacted by an awful mother and workers, who pull him toward the

affection for cash (theocracy). He winds up in the center, turning into a pleased and respect

cherishing man, a timocratic man. In words, when the blue-blood enables the state to wind up

lopsided by an adoration for respect, riches, freedom, or equity, the refined state plunges to a lower


Aristotle did not just categorize forms of governments by the quantity of people, but also

by quality. For each number, there was a good and bad form. As indicated by Aristotle government

was a decent frame, and oppression was its terrible reporter. Regardless of whether a shape was

great or terrible, is dependent on whether the ruler(s) did pursue the general interest (res publica

in Latin), or their own interests. Those rulers who sought after the general intrigue are, obviously,

the great ones, while the individuals who just sought after their own advantages are the terrible

ones (Mordanicus, 2013). The problem is Greek were facing the fact that a good government could

become corrupted and turn into the bad one. A monarchy system could become a tyranny. Usually

such a transition happens gradually overtime.


As a conclusion, although the monarchy system has not been widely practiced by the

countries of the world, Brunei still adheres to it. But I think that an absolute monarchy is not a

good way to lead a country because you do not get enough rights or freedom. Monarchy system

have both good side and bad side.

For the good side it can create a solid government because of the singularity of this form

of the government would provide people with an area to attain group of identity and loyalty. Also

it is because there is only one person who is making the decision, so they will be make quickly

with fewer arguments regarding the new laws, regulations and the policies to be imposed. Next

monarchy also can make more saving for the government without the elections. For example in

Brunei, they can reducing a huge amounts of expenses by the country from election because they

just follow their sultan. Monarchy also can encourages suitability for leadership. It was because a

potential successor to the throne is taught the proper ways to rule as early of their life as possible

not like traditional politicians who are only learn about leading a country in their adult years. Also

monarchs would not share the blame once they make the decision like the traditional political do.

For the advantage of the monarchy system, first it may difficult to change the direction of

a country under the monarchy because only one family or one noble group is allows to control the

structure of their country. It also can lead to poor governance because the public do not have the

power to dethrone him or she even if there is not functioning accordingly. Lastly based on the

Aristotle, tyranny id easier to form in the structure of a monarchy. Although tyranny can form

under any structure of government, it is easier to form within the structure of a monarchy. Many

governments attempt to balance the powers of a monarchy between multiple groups, but a ruler

that is determined to be cruel and unreasonable can dictate that all powers funnel through them.


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Melissa lane (n.d) philosopher king. Retrieved May 7, 2018 from

Kemerling G, (November 12, 2011). Aristotle: Politic and Art. Retrieved May 5, 2018 from

Farooq U (October 2, 2013). A Brief Note on Plato Ideal State Concept. Retrieved May 5, 2018



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