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"Manufacturing Consensus": The Role of the State Council in Brunei Darussalam.


A state council was formed in Brunei following the introduction of the British Residency system in 1906. [1] The Council provided a constitutional basis for the management of a protected state administered by British officers, but not directly under the Crown. Similar bodies had been already set up in the Peninsular Malay States under British rule to assist and advise the British Residents. [2] First convened in June 1907, the Brunei State Council functioned for almost half a century until September 1959, when Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III (r. 1950-67) promulgated the Brunei Constitution, which replaced it with new legislative arrangements. Largely a British colonial creation, the State Council was substantially different from the executive and legislative councils that were a standard element of Crown Colony Government. Brunei was not a colony, and the Ruler never gave up his sovereign rights. On the other hand, the State Council played a notable role in buttressing the semi-colonial supremacy of the British administration under the Residents of Brunei.

Sir Frank Swettenham, an early British Resident in Malaya found in the State Council a "great safety valve". [3] When the alien British rule supplanted the traditional authority of the Sultans, State Councils provided the resentful Malay ruling class with a forum of consultation other than the customary audience with the Ruler attended by his personal advisers. The Malayan State Councils thus helped to smooth the way for Residential administration while giving opportunities to the local elite to represent their views. As Swettenham admitted, ".... the Malay members from the first took an intelligent interest in the proceedings [of the State Council], which were always conducted in Malay [sic], and seat in the Council is much coveted and highly prized". [4] A recent historian has observed that the State Councils established in the Malay peninsula aimed at bringing "both Malay district chiefs and also China headmen" into the consultation process. [5]

Brunei followed the example of the State Council models created in Selangor and Perak in 1877, and in Negeri Sembilan in 1889. From their inception, the Malayan State Councils, besides passing vital State legislation, also dealt with a good deal of routine business, such as the appointment of pen ghulus (village chiefs) and khadi (religious official), the awarding of political allowances and building grants, and the confirmation of death sentences and review of petitions for remission of penal sentences. The Residents, as far as possible, sought the consensus of the local elite when making significant changes to customary practices. Though such occasions were rare, and the Residents could always push reforms through, it was not an easy matter to mollify local opinion.

The Brunei State Council performed almost identical functions but on a more limited scale, given the small size of the State. Brunei was seen as a backward state when British administration first began. Those colonial officials who had been to Brunei in the late nineteenth century observed that there was no system of government in the Western sense of the term, but only private ownership. Moreover, Brunei had few qualified people to assist the colonial administration in setting up a new system. Thus, in the early stages, the State Council only met briefly to transact such business as there might be, since the Residents felt the meetings were not very productive. In the words of the Resident in 1909, "Meetings of the Council are but rarely necessary or advisable in the present state of Brunei. Their old age precludes the presence of the Pengirans, Bendahara and Pemancha, and the attitude of the other leading nobles shows that as yet they are incapable of forming any opinion for themselves, the discussion of w hich might tend to the benefit of the country." [6]

By comparison, the early Malayan State Councils were active bodies where men of substance sat and discussed matters affecting their State, and the meetings were marked by pomp and ceremony. The Malayan Rajas and their nominees in the State Council took their roles seriously. For example, the minutes of the Perak State Council show that for the first five years, from 1877 to 1882, the local members opposed vehemently measures such as the elimination of debt-bondage and the imposition of taxes on the Malay population introduced by the British Government. [7] Until the 1 950s, the Brunei State Council was an effete body, giving the Resident more authority than he would have wielded in the Malay States, and opposition voices, if any, were very muted. At most, the Bruneians resorted to tactics of prevarication when they considered certain legislation inimical to their interests. In the peninsula, following the formation of the Federal Council in 1909, the State Councils lost vitality as a focus of administration, and increasingly handled only routine affairs. In contrast, the final phase of the history of the Brunei State Council after 1950 became more lively and remarkable in that the British administration was challenged at every turn by a vocal membership in the Council.

Although the Brunei State Council was modelled on those of Malaya, it must be noted that Brunei already had an assembly of local potentates to arrive at important decisions. For example, The Silsilah Raja-raja Brunei, [8] the Brunei chronicle, refers to a daily assembly of noble and non-noble officials at the Sultan's audience hall (Lapau). Under the traditional political system the Sultan required the assent of his subordinates when making serious decisions for the state. As a nineteenth-century British observer has stated, "Neither in theory nor practice is the Sultan despotic: he must consult on all great occasions with his chief officers, and all important documents should bear at least two of their seals." [9] It is not known who actually might have participated in the decisions made at the assembly or which officials were included in the assembly. A British official visiting the kingdom at the end of the nineteenth century has noted that the viziers "declined to take any part in the Council as they fou nd their advice disregarded...." [10] By reconstituting an old advisory body, the British had formalized the duties and responsibilities of the Brunei State Council. Thus in his dispatch to the Colonial Office, the first Resident, McArthur, could write "by the recognized constitution of Brunei all matters affecting the State as a whole were under the control of the State Council, presided over by the Sultan". [11]

Although a consultation process was part of Brunei tradition, the State Council formed under the British administration went beyond the principle of consultation. The major difference lay in the presence of a powerful foreign advisor during the proceedings of the Council. In essence, the Council served the needs of the Resident, who needed to elicit local opinion. Whereas in the traditional consultative bodies the Pengiran Bendahara or other leading local potentates guided the proceedings with the Sultan at the helm, now the initiative to summon and to conduct the sessions lay solely in the hands of the Resident. With the backing of the Imperial Government, and armed with an omnipotent "advisory clause" in the Supplementary Agreement of 1905/1906, the Resident controlled the Council.

The primary objective of this paper is to throw some light on the functioning of the State Council in Brunei, a subject hitherto not examined in any detail. In contrast with Malaya, where such minutes have long been available for public scrutiny, few scholars have had access to the Brunei State Council minutes. Second, this essay seeks to examine how and why the Brunei State Council changed from an organization that served as a "rubber stamp" for the Resident's administration into a body that enabled local members to dominate affairs of state during the post-war period. During its last decade, from 1950 until 1959, the State Council of Brunei proved a major hindrance to the British administration. The very ambiguity of the functions of the State Council, formerly a source of strength to the Residents, was now successfully exploited by the Brunei ruling elite, which used it to bring about a near breakdown of the British administration.


Brunei became a British Protected State in 1888, while a Supplementary Treaty of 1905/1906 provided for the appointment of a British Resident whose advice was binding on the local Ruler on all matters except Islam. [12] This Treaty made the Resident the most powerful official in the Sultanate. As in British Malaya, the Resident arrogated to himself wide and undefined administrative powers, and day-to-day administration of the State effectively passed into the hands of the British Resident, who had simply become "the Government, to an extent far more than had been the case with the Sultan in the nineteenth century". [13]

The Resident's powers extended to virtually every branch of the government's executive, judicial and legislative sectors. As an observer from the Colonial Office put it, the Resident was for all practical purposes "the Sultan's Prime Minister and Chief Justice combined". The Resident appointed the four District Officers, and they were responsible only to him. Even the appointment of most of the traditional officials (Penghulus and Ketua Kampong) came under his purview. Above all, he was the major figure in the State Council. (For a list of the Residents who served in Brunei, see Table 1.)

The actual functions of the State Council had never been spelled out, and it proved to be a convenient instrument to "manufacture consensus" among the ruling elite for major decisions pertaining to the running of the State. It was the Resident who fixed the agenda, and he had coercive powers that allowed him to push through legislation in accordance with the desires of the Imperial authorities. In the State Council, all the actions of the British Resident were justified and legitimized in the name of the Sultan, the supreme and sovereign ruler of Brunei. All the Council decisions were codified as decisions of the Sultan-in-Council, whether or not the Sultan had been present during the deliberations. Instruments of government and documents of title bore the Sultan's seal. Regulations and Orders-in-Council were issued in his name, having been drawn up in the Resident's office and presented to the Sultan for formal ratification.

The historians of Brunei who have studied the semi-colonial status of the state during this period have focussed more on describing the powers and functions of the British Resident than on explaining the instruments of his authority. The State Council is generally portrayed as the handmaiden of the Resident. [14] Reminiscing about his days as an Acting Resident in the 1940s, R.N. Turner wrote, "The State Council was nothing more than a rubber stamp.... [I]n the only one I attended it was all over in ten minutes." [15] A similar remark was made by a later Resident, D.C. White, who remarked that "administration was completely in the hands of the British Resident", and the State Council "a rubber stamp". [16] Donald Brown has argued that "the form of the Sultan and the Council as the highest deliberative unit of the State was retained, but it had no substance other than the authority of the Resident". [17] However, such observations were true only for the first half of the twentieth century when Brunei had lagg ed behind in economic and social developments, and during the 1950s the situation had changed dramatically with the rising prosperity of Brunei, and the accession to the throne of a clever Sultan determined to take control of his state. For a list of the Sultans who reigned during the State Council period, see Table 2.

There were marked changes in the political attitude of the local elite during the postwar period. Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III (r. 1950--67) used the State Council to challenge the supremacy of the British administration. When that happened, the Brunei State Council system became a major obstacle to British efforts to democratize the country's institutions. In short, the State Council happened to be in the centre of controversies surrounding the British manoeuvres to dominate Brunei politically, and the struggle of local forces to transfer power to themselves.

Composition and Functions

As far as can be determined, the first meeting of the Council took place on 29 June 1907. The first order of business was to approve a list submitted by Pengiran Bendahara of members who had a "constitutional right" to participate in the proceedings. Over the years, the composition of the Council varied considerably. Table 3 shows the membership at various points in time.

At a meeting held in December 1925, the Resident (E.E.F. Pretty), irked by increases in the membership at the behest of the Sultan, "expressed surprise whether there were not certain definite rules as to the constitution of the Chamber". [18] The Regents could not produce a satisfactory answer, and according to the Council minutes, they "appeared very hazy on the matter, and agreed to consult each other". [19] The matter came up again in April 1927, when the Council was asked to ratify a decision made by the Resident and the High Commissioner to reduce the size of the Council. Members seem to have been unhappy with the change, and the principal Pengirans continued to raise the issue in subsequent meetings. [20] Nevertheless, the number fixed in 1927 remained in effect until the early 1950s, when the Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Manager and the State Treasurer were added. In 1954, seven Malay members chosen from the District Advisory Councils began to attend meetings as "Observers".

Membership in the Council brought prestige and gave high recognition to the local dignitaries appointed by the Sultan. Thus in 1920 the Sultan conferred the title of Dato Shabbandar and a seat in the State Council upon a Malay magistrate (Dato Abang Seruji) in recognition of his good work. [21] Council membership was also accorded on a personal basis independent of the office one held in the hierarchy. For example, Pengiran Muda Tengah (later the Duli Pengiran Bendahara, and then Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the 28th Sultan) was appointed a member by name on 7 August 1947, as was the Chief Kathi (Pengiran Di-Gadong Shahibul Mal Pengiran Haji Mohammed Salleb bin Pengiran Haji Mohammed) whose appointment took effect from 20 July 1941. The Sultan made the nominations after consulting the Resident and the High Commissioner. There was no specified period of tenure for members, who served until death or resignation, although there was an implicit understanding that the Sultan could remove members with the approval of the High Commissioner.

The conduct of the Council, like most other aspects of government in the Malay states, was established by practice and not by proclamation. [22] Initially conceived as an advisory body of the Resident, the State Council came to perform additional functions as the occasion demanded. These functions encompassed legislative, executive and in certain cases, judicial matters. Interrelated as these functions were, no serious problems arose as long as the Resident was in full control of the administration of the State. Only when the State Council became a forum to debate and criticize the actions of the British administration in the 1950s that complications emerged, as will be discussed in the final part of this paper.

The Council passed the country's laws, but the Resident's office drafted legislation, which went to the High Commissioner's office in Malaya for approval before being submitted to the State Council for assent. All legislation continued to go through the High Commissioner until 1 April 1948; thereafter enactments went to Kuching for approval because the Sarawak Governor now doubled as the High Commissioner for Brunei. That such approval was always regarded as necessary is indicated by the fact that on 12 January 1925, a measure previously passed by the Council was re-enacted by the Attorney General of the Straits Settlements, who first redrafted the Enactment. Thus, the authority of the High Commissioner and the Secretary of State for the Colonies superseded the authority of the Council, which lacked powers to reject an Order-in-Council imposed by the Crown. On occasions, the local members of the Council silently protested against such measures. For example, in 1951, reluctant Brunei members passed the Superi or Courts (Authorization) bill, on which much correspondence had passed between the Sultan and the British authorities, at the eleventh hour after receiving an ultimatum from the Resident. The British Government wanted to introduce a uniform judiciary service in all the British Borneo Territories of Sarawak, North Borneo and Brunei, and on 14 November 1951 the British Crown passed the legislation to coincide with the proclamation of the Order in Council to take effect simultaneously in all three Northern Borneo territories. An irritated Resident, feigning illness, stayed out of the proceedings on that day to show his displeasure against the delaying tactics of the Brunei Malay members of the Council. [23]

Until the late 1940s, all Enactments were drafted in English. The Resident was obliged to explain elements of legislation to the mostly non-English-speaking local members. It is doubtful how many of the Malay members actually would have understood the significance of certain legislation in English. Nevertheless, once they did understand, the members treated controversial legislation with characteristic wariness, particularly when it affected the customary laws of the country in respect of land or religion. Before the need for written laws existed in the pre-residential period, Brunei's political system was largely determined by custom and precedence. The Brunei Annual Report of 1908 aptly summed up the situation.

The consideration of proposed laws by His Highness in Council is an innovation in a State where formally the Sultan and chiefs were laws unto themselves. At present the members appear to consider all the proposals solely in the light of their own personal interests evidently suspecting that these may be adversely affected. [24]

Apart from the Enactments, annual estimates of revenue and expenditure were also tabled in the Council. The minutes of 22 December 1922 contain the first mention of this practice, which limited the powers of the Resident to spend State money; for any expenditure in excess of the sanctioned allocations, he had to seek approval. For instance, in February 1935, the State Council approved a gift of $500,000 to the United Kingdom "for imperial defence", and another gift of $100,000 for the same purpose in June 1938; in April 1940 the Council approved the use of a further $100,000 to help defray "to the cost of war". The State Council also approved two massive loans to Malaya, a sum of $40,000,000 in 1953, [25] and another $100,000,000 in 1958. [26] In the latter case, the initiative came from the Sultan who, being in a stronger position by this time, overlooked certain procedural technicalities, thus incurring matters the displeasure of the Colonial Office.

As the fortunes of the kingdom improved in the late 1940s, fed by an influx of oilderived wealth, the work of the State Council became more onerous, and a finance committee was appointed to handle complicated financial procedures and to review requests from the palace for special expenditures. Formed in 1950, the Finance Committee was headed by the State Treasurer (a European Officer) and included two other members of the State Council. One of the Committee's purposes was to "examine all proposals for the expenditure of public money in the forthcoming year and to record their approval or disapproval and in the latter case to state their reasons". [27] By contrast, the Malayan State Council formed small executive committees to deal with the immediate tasks of government, and estimates were rarely tabled before the Councils in plenary session.

As the business of government grew more complex, the Residents' role became somewhat circumscribed. The State Council demanded a share in making important decisions hitherto handled by the Resident, a development which did not please the British administration. Thus, in 2 December 1940 the State Council forced the Resident to agree to submit for approval all appointments for the Brunei Administrative Service and other appointments carrying a salary of at least $150 per month, "subject always to the right of the Resident, when the exigencies of the service so require, to make temporary or acting appointments to any of the posts mentioned". This principle was later extended to require the Council's approval for all secondments from Sarawak under the SarawakBrunei Public Service Agreement of 22 April 1948. From 30 September 1952 onward, the Council approved revisions of salaries and allowances. [28] Subsequently, other matters relating to the appointment and transfer of government servants, pensions, land alien ation and so on became routine business on the Council's agenda.

In the judicial sphere the State Council acted from time to time as a Supreme Court of Appeal whose purview included religious matters. On 29 July 1940 the Council overruled a decision by the Chief Kathi -- an officer whose appointment required the Sultan's confirmation. [29] The Council sometimes went into detailed discussion of individual offenders who violated the customary law (adat). The Sultan Jamalul Alam on one occasion referred to a complaint made by a Pengiran whose sister had been carrying on an affair with a person belonging to the Ulun (debt-slave) class. [30] In the same meeting His Highness raised another case of a woman who had committed adultery and was unable to marry her companion under the new Muhammadan Laws Enactment, and the Resident authorized the Council to hear the case on appeal. As the prerogative to punish or pardon capital offenders lay with the Sultan, death sentences such as that passed on a Sikh who murdered Resident E.B. Maundrell in 1915 also received confirmation in the Co uncil. In short, the Council acted as the highest Court of Appeal until the approval of the Superior Courts (Authorization) Enactment.

Local Reaction

Before the 1950s the Resident's administration attempted as much as possible to reach a consensus on decisions at the State Council level. A number of Residents seem to have acted highhandedly, especially towards the ruling class, and the local members in the Council had little option but to yield to the dictates of the British administration. Lacking the capacity to voice their resistance to unpopular measures, the members resorted to tactics of 'silent' opposition. The following discussion highlights some special instances where the local power elite reacted unfavourably to British actions.

During its half-century of existence, the pace of the Brunei State Council's activities grew slowly in tandem with the expanding political and economic importance of the Sultanate. The early Residents had little reason to take the State Council seriously or to treat the Sultans who chaired it deferentially. There were several reasons for this. First, the early British administrators had to revive a dying Malay kingdom. In 1906, Brunei was a virtually bankrupt state waiting to be partitioned or annexed by the neighbouring governments of the "White Rajah" Brooke in Sarawak and the British North Borneo Company in North Borneo. Funds were needed to pay the administrative costs and to tum Brunei into a financially viable state. In 1907, state revenue was a mere $43,539 -- insufficient to cover the debts owed by the Sultan and his courtiers, who had mortgaged the country's income by selling cession monies, revenue farms, trade monopolies and taxation rights to speculators for years in advance. Between 1906 and 191 1 the Federated Malay States (EMS) loaned a total of $439,750 to redeem debts and cover overheads for the new administration.

The government adopted a tight-fisted fiscal policy to rejuvenate Brunei. Future prosperity lay in developing the natural resources of the country. Brunei offered two minor export items -- cutch and coal -- to attract British investors who, however, showed more interest in planting rubber. The exports of cutch, coal and rubber brought an encouraging amount of revenue, and by the end of the first quarter of the century, Brunei showed clear signs of economic recovery.3' In 1925 the Resident proudly reported that trade was "growing by leaps and bounds", and that "the lean days are over and the State is now safely embarked on a course of real prosperity".32 The economy faltered in the early 1930s, but later in the decade Brunei gained greater significance following the discovery of oil and its export in commercial quantities.

A second problem was the fact that the Residents sent to Brunei were junior officials holding only Class IV posts in the Malayan Civil Service (MCS) -- unlike Malaya, where such positions were reserved for very senior members of the Service. For instance, H. Chevalier (Resident from May to November 1907, and November 1909 to November 1911) had formerly been District Officer of Kuala Pilah in Negeri Sembilan, which was not even a particularly senior district post. In most instances, the European heads of departments in Brunei were more senior than the Resident. Unlike most of their counterparts in Peninsular Malaya, the Residents who came to Brunei did not always treat the local ruling class with respect. Only after 1936 were Residents of senior rank sent to Brunei, following protests by Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin (r. 1924-50). [33]

Nor were Council members in all cases competent personalities who could satisfy the British expectations of pro-active participation in the state affairs. They were educationally backward and not sufficiently literate, at least to Western eyes, to participate in such a state body. Therefore it is not surprising that the Residents had a free hand in the Council's decision-making process, as its constituent members were hardly capable of contributing to the discussions.

Finally, two of the rulers during the early residential period came to the throne as minors, Sultan Jamalul Alam II (b. 1889; r. 1906-1924), who was a child at the time of his accession to the throne, and his successor Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin, who was eleven years old when his father died in an epidemic. Both Sultans bad long Regencies before becoming fully anointed rulers. Sultan Jamalul Alam became the authorized ruler, the Yang Di-Per Tuan, after almost nine years on the throne, while Ahmad Tajuddin was not granted a Berpushpa (anointment) ceremony until 1940, after much haggling with the British administration. While they were minors, these rulers played only a passive role in the State Council; and if they did express an opinion, it was at the behest of their Regents.

The young Sultan Jamalul Alam, at the instigation of his Regents, was the first to confront British authority. Although the first Resident (M.S.H. McArthur) encountered little opposition, his successors H. Chevalier and J.F. Owen faced considerable animosity, particularly in their attempt to frame a revised land law in 1908-l909. [34] This Enactment sought to make the process of altering land titles less elaborate and costly, but the legislation directly affected lands that were controlled by the Brunei nobility, and were their last source of independent income. Supported by officials and subjects, chiefly the Kedayan population, the Sultan protested against the British administration's tampering with the land tenure system and with other matters intimately associated with the customs of the state. He refused to sign the legislation amending the Land Enactment No. 1 of 1907, which he said had never received his sanction, and in 1909 he challenged the incumbent Resident to produce a copy of that Enactment bea ring his seal. [35] The Resident replied that it was not the custom to require the Ruler of the State to affix his seal to an Enactment as proof of its passage, adding that McArthur had placed on record that the legislation was duly approved. Standing firm, the Resident invoked the Advice clause in the Treaty, and threatened to refer the matter to the High Commissioner with a recommendation for punishment. In the face of this ultimatum, the Sultan gave his consent to all the Enactments passed by the Council during 1908 and 1909 and acknowledged that they had received his sanction despite the absence of his seal. There is no record of a State Council meeting during the next two years; possibly the British administration saw no need for it as by then the Sultan had become very docile, and he co-operated with the British in all areas until his death. [36]

It is somewhat surprising that the State Council approved a piece of legislation on Islam, even though the Resident's advisory powers did not extend to such matters. On 10 December 1911 the State Council passed the Mohammedan Laws Enactment, with an announcement from the Resident that in the subsequent meeting another Enactment for the Registration of Mohammedan Marriages and Divorces would be presented for approval. This latter legislation was passed only in June 1913. It appears that as a sign of protest the chief Wazirs, the Pengiran Bendahara and Pengiran Pemancha, did not attend meetings until about 1914; according to the minutes, Pengiran Bendahara was represented by Pengiran Kerma Indera bin Pengiran Suma. In the Council, Sultan Jamalul Alam was seen occasionally to refer to matters of local Adat such as the case of the estate belonging to one Anak Gundek and Anak Gahara (terms for the king's progeny by additional marriages), which needed amplification in the context of the recently introduced Mohamme dan Enactment. [37] In such circumstances, the Resident politely referred the matter the Sultan to be "heard in appeal by His Highness in Council".

The State Council under Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin

Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin's reign brought marked improvements in Brunei's economy, coinciding with the export of oil. Brunei now began to enjoy a massive surplus of petroleum-derived revenue that was diverted into savings of various kinds. Naturally, the State Council also increased in significance. The Residents applied tighter control over expenditures in a bid to conserve state funds for the future. More business needed to be transacted, requiring some expansion of the bureaucracy, and this increase meant that in addition to passing Enactments, the State Council discussed salaries, transfers and retirement. At the same time, the newfound prosperity widened the cleavage between the ruler and the British administration, especially when the latter adopted tight fiscal policies. The Ruler felt deprived of his share of the financial benefits, and resented the haughty attitude of the Residents towards the needs of the royal family. Denied of any meaningful role in the running of the State, the Sultan became indiffe rent to the State Council, and often did not attend meetings.

While still a minor, Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin had few duties to perform. Even after he had received a formal coronation in 1940, he still could not command respect from the Residents, who cared little about his opinions. He preferred to stay away from Council sessions, allowing the Pengiran Bendahara to act on his behalf. When he did attend, Sultan Ahmad initiated important proposals to curtail the powers of the Resident. For example, according to the minutes of the Council session of 16 March 1936, the Sultan suggested that Council members should each keep a notebook to record decisions, and that the Resident should notify them of each session's agenda well in advance.

During the Sultan's absence, he expected his principal Wazirs to check certain of the Resident's executive powers. He was probably behind the Pengiran Pemancha's suggestion in the late 1940s that all appointments above the clerical level should he confirmed by the Council. The Resident again attempted to bulldoze his opinion through the Council by invoking the Advice Clause under the 1905-1906 UK-Brunei Agreement whereby he had the prerogative to make appointments. However, he soon gave in, declaring himself "much in sympathy [with] the desire of the Council to take a more active part in the administration of the State". [38]

In the first State Council meeting convened after the Japanese Occupation, the Sultan expressed the hope that young Brunei men with suitable educational qualifications would not be overlooked by the Resident for Government service. Other leading members, including the Chief Kathi and the Pehin Orang Kaya Di Gadong, an advocate of English education for Bruneians, took up the call in several subsequent Council meetings. [39] The Chief Kathi, Pg (Shahbandar Sahibul Bandar Dato Paduka Haji) Mohammad Salleh bin Pg Anak Haji Mohammad, forwarded a letter to the Resident from an early nationalist organization called the Barisan Pemuda (BARIP -- the Brunei Youth Front) demanding English-language education. The Resident agreed that it was a priority issue, but replied that finding qualified staff was a problem. [40] During the same period the Council also approved the Chief Kathi's suggestion to have two flagstaffs, one for the Brunei flag and another for the Union Jack, when the Brunei Resident was in the office. [41 ]

The Sultan's presence at Council meetings became even less frequent after 1940. At almost every session, the Resident offered apologies on behalf of the Sultan on grounds of ill health. The Sultan's health was progressively deteriorating, but he was observed to be active in his little palace in neighbouring Kuching (the capital of Sarawak), where he preferred to spend his time. In the post-war period, there was concern that his absence from Council sessions rendered invalid all Enactments passed without him. The situation became serious when he decided to visit England in 1950 to meet the Secretary of the State for the Colonies to seek redress for British failings in his country. Although the Sultan's death in Singapore on his way to England ended his life-long mission, the British realized the urgency of reforming the State Council, as well as introducing a constitution.

The post-war period brought important changes in the conduct and proceedings of the Council. Some local members became increasingly active and vocal in demanding educational and social welfare measures. Apparently, the intervening years of Japanese Occupation (1941-45) had inspired the local population to stand up to foreign domination. The nationalist aspirations that took root in Brunei were spurred by Japanese promptings of "Asia for Asians". Even under Japanese military administration, the State Council continued to meet until mid-1943, although under a different set-up dominated by the local members. The Japanese found the system useful to conduct their administration, although the Sultan never attended the Council during this period.

During the Japanese interlude, the Council -- chaired by the Pengiran Bendahara -- conducted proceedings for the first time entirely in Malay, and the minutes were written in the traditional Malay Jawi script; suddenly those members who were castigated by the British administration as "illiterates" became active "literates". Although the State Council functioned for only a brief period from 1942 to 1943, the members learned a great deal about conducting their own affairs, which gave them self-confidence to be vocal when the Council resumed work at the end of the war.

After the war, British attitudes changed towards their former dependent territories in the East, and in preparation for eventual independence, urgent measures were introduced to ameliorate the economic and social life of subject peoples in the colonies. It was just at this time that the docile Bruneians were imbibing a strong dose of the political and nationalist consciousness raging throughout the region. The British authorities therefore had to act with much circumspection in dealing with the Brunei State Council. A significant development took place at the Council meeting held on 6 August 1946, when a vocal Chief Kathi, Pengiran Haji Mohammed Salleb, presented a petition on behalf of the people, raising objections to the appointment of a British Captain (M.R. Ireland Blackbume) as Secretary to the Resident and the first Magistrate in Brunei-Muara District. Captain Blackbume, who had served in Brunei during the period of British Military Administration in 1945--46, seems to have offended Malay sensitivitie s by his high-handed actions. The Chief Kathi brought the matter up at the State Council to express disagreement "for the reason that Captain Blackbume as (yet) [sic] is not conversant with the Malay language and customs". The Resident accepted the protest, and told the Council it would be preferable to select a Malayan Civil Service Officer for the post. [42]

When it came to the matter of finances, the Resident's administration stood its ground in the face of repeated local pressures to loosen its purse strings. The parsimonious Residents adhered faithfully to the financial regulations and avoided exceeding the annual financial allocations approved in the Council. Growing oil revenue notwithstanding, the Residents refused to entertain any request for aid or charity from Council members, irrespective of merit. For example, in October 1946, Pengiran Pemancha requested three months' political pension to cover funeral expenses incurred for the burial of Pengiran Bendahara, the first Minister who had died in 1943. The request was rejected on grounds that there was no precedent for this sort of payment. In the same meeting, the Chief Kathi requested that a gratuity be given to the legal beneficiaries of Pehin Dato Imam, who had died at the age of 87 with a record of 29 years of service as a mosque official. The Resident replied that mosque officials were normally not e ntitled to a gratuity under the Pensions Enactment. [43] In January 1947 the Chief Kathi made a similar request for payments to the deputy Kathi of Tutong, but the Resident turned it down on the grounds that the post's responsibility was not sufficient to justify any remuneration. [44] The inability to obtain financial assistance from the Council resulted in frustration and resentment among the local members, especially at a time when large sums of money were flowing into Brunei's coffers.

Nowhere was this frustration more evident than in the case of the Sultan himself, who was denied any additional financial support beyond his fixed allowances. The Resident either refused to entertain his requests or at most agreed to forward them to higher authorities. In February 1948 the Sultan's private secretary asked why the Council had not approved the ruler's travelling expenses to Australia. The response was that "since His Highness the Sultan has written a letter to His Excellency the Governor General regarding this it better to wait for the reply". [45] Interestingly, at the 6 April 1948 session, the secretary read a message saying that "His Highness regrets that he is often unable to attend the State Council Meeting owing to ill health. He has planned to spend a holiday outside Brunei but unfortunately owing to the very high cost of living now prevailing everywhere and to lack of suitable accommodation he has had to postpone his holiday." [46]

All in all, Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin during his reign was hardly in a position to openly challenge the authority of the Residents, or to utilize the full potential of the State Council system to check the arbitrary powers of the administration. His brother, who succeeded him on the Brunei throne, was determined to turn the tables.

The State Council under Sultan Haji Omar Omar Ali Saifuddin III (r, 1950-67)

The Brunei State Council quickly developed teeth after 1950 as the sultanate entered a new era with the accession to the throne by Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III, who succeeded his brother, Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin, and was formally coronated on 31 May 1951 as the Yang Di-Pertuan Negara and Sultan of Brunei. The new Sultan was a man of altogether a different character from his brother, and had an exceptionally strong personality. He was the first Sultan in Brunei history to have undergone modern education in a foreign country, having finished his schooling in 1936 at the Kuala Kangsar Malay College, Perak in Malaya, an institution once dubbed the 'Eton of the East'. On his return he served as a cadet in the Forestry Department and State judiciary, gaining valuable administrative experience. A prominent member of the State Council during the Japanese interlude in 1942-43, and again when he was Duli Pengiran Bendahara in 1947, [47] he virtually took charge of palace affairs in the absence of his brother, who large ly ignored State business. He won the support of the British administration, which pinned its hopes on the new Pengiran Bendahara as a future Sultan to lead Brunei and to be a loyal ally of Britain.

Sultan Omar's reign brought unprecedented economic, social, and political transformation to Brunei. He inherited a kingdom that had undergone a metamorphosis into a rich oil-producing state. [48] Never before in recorded history had Brunei possessed such wealth. As a contemporary British official graphically put it, "This fortunate little State is so rich [as] to be almost indecent and in the position of being able to sit back and watch the oil flow out and the money flow in." [49] No longer could the British administration prevent the state's prosperity and a portion of its finances from reaching local beneficiaries. Brunejans, especially the ruling elite, persistently demanded a relaxation of the British administration's frugal financial policy. As the High Commissioner for Brunel, Sir Anthony Abell, commented:

A major source of discontent is the control which is exercised by the British Resident and the High Commissioner over the Sultan in the internal affairs of the State, particularly in the matter of the finance. It is widely known that, by the terms of the treaty, the Sultan must accept the Resident's advice in all matters excepting only those of a religious nature. This is widely resented. With the abnormally large sums of money becoming available to the State many Government officers consider that emoluments should be raised in proportion to the revenue, irrespective of qualifications and ability of the holders or the responsibilities of the duties discharged, and they feel that they have the Sultan's sympathy.... If and when the treaty is revised and greater discretion in such matters is allowed to the Sultan in Council, I fear we will see very greatly increased emoluments throughout the whole range of Government servants. Some control over the estimates will be required for some years if we are to avoid the demoralising effect of great wealth without discipline. [50]

From the outset, Sultan Omar was determined to avoid his predecessor's mistakes in dealing with the Resident's administration. Regardless of the outcome, the new Sultan was keen to exercise his authority as the country's supreme ruler, especially in terms of control over financial affairs. Although the Sultan had little say on aspects of financial policy such as the investment of state funds, he was nevertheless biding his time until he could gain control of the internal administration.

Socially, Bruneians were beginning to feel the impact of post-war reconstruction policies and planning instituted by the British administration. Aware of the rising oil income, the people began to demand the establishment of overdue facilities for education and social welfare. They were influenced by nationalist developments in neighbouring areas, especially Indonesia, where Dutch colonial rule had come to an end after a violent struggle. With the return to Brunei in 1952 of Shaikh A.M. Azahari, a populist leader who had participated in the Indonesian freedom movement, Bruneians became sufficiently politicized to stage public protests against the British administration. [51]

The British would need to cast aside their traditionally parsimonious policies if they were to retain their political and financial control over the kingdom. No one was more conscious of the rapid changes in Brunei society than Sir Anthony Abell, who in 1950 became the new British High Commissioner to Brunei and Governor of neighbouring Sarawak. Just two years earlier, the Brunei-Sarawak Administrative Merger of 1948 had placed Brunei under the management of the Sarawak administration, a change much resented by Bruneians since historically Sarawak had been part of Brunei. Previously the British had seconded officers from Malaya to the Brunei administration, but under the new arrangement even Residents were now to be seconded from Sarawak for service in Brunei. These changes were certain to affect the conduct of the Council.

The Brunei State Council soon became a thorn in the side of post-war British policymakers. By 1949 the British had realized that certain crucial aspects of their authority in the Sultanate stood on flimsy legal foundations -- a realization that they kept essentially to themselves. [52] C.H. Dawson, the Acting Governor (Sarawak) and High Commissioner (Brunei), seems to have been the first official to raise this issue with the Colonial Office, on the advice of Mr. Arthur Grattan-Bellow, the Attorney General of Sarawak. Dawson argued that there were serious procedural lapses in the passing of Enactments by the Residents: "In so far as can be ascertained the Sultan of Brunei is an autocratic sovereign, and he alone (unless he delegates his powers) can make laws for the Government of the State." [53] The Protectorate Agreement of 1888 and the Supplementary Agreement of 1905-1906 did not grant the Resident authority to pass legislation for Brunei. Yet, besides being the de facto executive authority, Residents had arrogated lawmaking powers to themselves through the Brunei State Council, mainly on the strength of the advisory clause in the original Agreement. [54] This practice surprised the Colonial Office legal expert, J.C. McPetrie, who in 1950 highlighted the fact that the State Council had no legal authority to function in this manner:

It appears that, subject to the Treaties, the Sultan is an absolute sovereign, and that the law making power must be vested in him. The Council has no legal status, or at least is not provided for in any written law. There is no Constitution, or at least no written Constitution, for the State, and the form and method of legislating are not prescribed anywhere. [55]

Brunei did not have written laws formulated on the Western pattern before the introduction of the Residency administration. [56] Only after 1907, when the State Council began passing laws, did they take written form. Each printed version carried the words "It is hereby enacted by His Highness the Sultan in Council as follows...." The Resident placed his signature at the head of each Enactment, though the words "I assent" were not used. His signature was presumed merely to testify to the fact that the Enactment had been passed by the Sultan in Council. What was the validity of such an Enactment if the ruler was in fact not present at the Council? If the Enactments had been passed under such circumstances by the Resident in Council, as had generally been the case since the war (with Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin often absent from meetings), their validity was questionable. The Sultan appears at no stage to have expressly delegated his legislative powers to the Resident. Even if he had done so, the printed copies of the laws did not purport to be passed by the Resident in Council.

When the Enactments thus passed in the Brunei State Council from 1907 to 1930 were revised and collated in book form, and the volume allegedly issued "by authority", it was not in fact backed by any statutory authority. Nevertheless, as the law courts officially accepted all such public statutes, there was no doubt that the book would be accepted as authentic. But Enactments passed after 1930 had not even been collated in book form until 1949, and this created a real legal issue. The individually printed copies of the Enactments did not claim to be printed "by authority" and did not bear the name of any authorised printer (Brunei only acquired a Government Printer in 1951). In this event, if an Enactment were to be challenged in a court of law, it would at least have been necessary for the Resident to present himself in the court to produce a certified copy. Furthermore, if an Enactment were to be challenged on the grounds that it had not been passed by the Sultan in Council, it would also be necessary to pr ove that the ruler had in some way delegated his legislative powers or that he had assented to the Enactment at some stage of the proceedings. Drawing attention to these problems, the Acting High Commissioner C.H. Dawson concluded his despatch as follows:

I think that you will agree that these matters which fundamentally affect the legal and Constitutional position in Brunei should be examined.... It may well be that no question would be raised or challenge made for years to come, but, as High Commissioner for Brunei, I am not happy about the position, and would like it to be put on proper footing as soon as possible. [57]

These and other questions were discussed at length among the policy makers in the Colonial Office. [58] In late 1949 the Office came up with several suggestions to rectify this legal wrangle. First of all, it was decided to give retrospective statutory validity to the laws already passed, by means of an Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance. Second, a Government Printer was appointed to issue a Government Gazette (first printed in 1951). Third, the decision was made to publish a revised edition of the Law Enactments. Fourth and most importantly, the Sultan would be advised to grant a Constitution which would determine the statutory functions of various bodies to be created for the better functioning of the government. The last item proved to be an intractable and contentious matter, and much time and energy would go into drafting and implementing the Constitution.

When the idea to launch a written Constitution was first mooted, the Brunei State Council gained new significance, for it became the vehicle for the introduction of reforms on the path to political modernization of the sultanate. The process produced ugly conflicts between the British administration and the local ruling elite. Before 1950, the State Council scarcely functioned as an executive body. [59] Under Sultan Omar's reign, however, two important developments took place to free the State Council from the de facto executive control hitherto enjoyed by the Residents. First, the Council met more frequently, sometimes twice a month, depending on the business at hand. Second, the Sultan increasingly demanded that matters on which he could not agree with the Resident should be brought before the Council for a decision. The new Sultan was growing in stature, and so too was the State Council. Virtually all major policy issues had to be submitted for deliberation, and the local representatives (especially the p rivate secretary to the Sultan, Dato Perdana Menteri Haji Ibrahim Jahfar) were ready to scrutinize the legislation proposed by the British administration. In a Council dominated by his own nominees, the Sultan clearly had numbers on his side.

The British administration began to look for strategies to retain its authority, ostensibly for purposes of administrative efficiency and to discharge "treaty obligations". Within the State Council the "difficulties" between the Sultan and the Resident's administration manifested themselves in three broad areas. The first related to the control of government expenditures. A second issue was the inter-governmental schemes in which Brunei was expected to participate with Sarawak and North Borneo, in keeping with the long-term British plan to move toward closer cooperation among the three territories. [60] A third area dealt with the Resident's requests for additional staff to accelerate development efforts and handle the increasingly complex executive machinery, requests that the Council tended to resist.

The question of financial management produced a major confrontation. In order to minimize ad hoc financial decisions and avoid having to face the wrath of influential palace advisers, the British administration introduced legislation in early 1953 known as the State Treasurer Incorporation Enactment. Its main objective was to regularize financial administration by the State Treasurer; there was also a need to close various loopholes in the management of funds. The Treasurer lacked the statutory power to supervise expenditure. The Principal Auditor who audited the Brunei accounts of 1952, for example, had already expressed his concern that "control of expenditure was not generally satisfactory. Many special warrants were signed after the close of the financial year. In addition[,] after the Treasurer had closed his accounts, many subheads were found to be overspent without authority". [61] Sarawak approved the same Enactment, and the High Commissioner for Brunei ordered the Deputy Legal Adviser for Brunei to draft similar legislation to strengthen the Treasurer's hand in decisions concerning expenditure of state funds. Following the explanation provided by the Deputy Legal Adviser when the State Treasurer's Incorporation Enactment came up for discussion in Council, Dato Perdana Menteri Ibrahim Jahfar argued that the Enactment gave unfettered discretion to the Treasurer. The Dato' suggested that in future all financial matters be brought before the Sultan in Council. The British Resident explained that this would entail undue delay in financial procedures, and in any case he offered assurances that the legislation was not meant to widen the State Treasurer's powers but only to "regularize the existing situation". However, when the motion was put to vote, only the Resident and the Treasurer voted for it, and the Enactment was soundly defeated. [62]

This turned out to be one of the earliest and most important of a series of victories for the Sultan and his advisers, who were now clearly poised to wrest control of other aspects of internal administration from British hands as well. Local people willing to take a stand against British manipulation now dominated the State Council, and with the passage of time the Sultan began to realise its significance as a counterpoise to British designs. From this point onwards the Council began to function not only as a legislative body but also as an executive organ, stripping the Resident of much of his authority, since all important state matters had to be brought up for the Sultan's assent and action. The Sultan was now in a position to restore his de facto sovereignty, which had suffered greatly at the hands of British Residents in the past.

The State Council now took an independent stand even on major policy issues. The British had devised various ruses to forge co-operation with a view to uniting the three Borneo territories, pinning their hopes on the assumption that this would enable them to guide the future of British Borneo, but the Council was adamantly opposed to these changes. Political issues aside, the Council members withheld the use of Brunei money from services common to the three territories. At the Council meeting held on 30 September 1952, the Resident's suggestion that responsibility for long-term prisoners and for executions be transferred to Kuching was not accepted. Instead, the Council urged that prisoners be housed in a local jail to be built in Sengkurong. [63] Similarly, the Council did not approve the establishment of a regional children's home for the three territories, suggesting instead that Brunei have its own home. Prior to that, in 1951, Resident B.C.H. Barcroft had tabled a motion for approval to implement the Sa rawak Adoptions Ordinance in Brunei as well. The Council refused on the grounds that the ordinance was in conflict with the Hukum Shara', Brunei's Islamic law determining the question of children's inheritance. [64]

In another instance, the Resident agreed to comply in future with the State Council's request to lay before it such matters as the revision of salary schemes and allowances, which previously had been the prerogative of the British administration. It is also interesting to note that in February 1953, when State Treasurer D.H. Trumble presented the budget estimates for that year, including his proposals to raise the company income tax from 20 to 30 per cent, he curtly reminded the Council that "if H.H. [the Sultan] in Council decides that the State does not wish to accept this additional revenue for its funds and the future... H.E. [the High Commissioner] requests that the decision be clearly recorded. There will be then no grounds for dissatisfaction at a later date with the profits made by the Oil Company, from oil produced from the soil of this country." [65] Presumably this speech was intended to remind some members in the Council not to intervene in the financial decisions of the administration, which in fact were framed for the benefit of their own country.

With the increasing complexity of Government business, the Resident required additional staff, another matter that came under close scrutiny by some Council members. Although they could not block such appointments, the Resident curtailed recruitment owing to Council opposition. The Sultan and Council reserved the right to discuss the competence of appointees, whereas earlier the Resident had a free hand to decide on such matters. Eventually the appointment of expatriate officers, even to manage essential services, became a bone of contention between the Resident and the Council. [66]

The stifling atmosphere that prevailed in the State Council hampered Brunei's much-flaunted development efforts in the 1950s. The British administration seemed to be at a loss as to how to reconcile the need for development and the inflexible attitude of State Council members towards new plans. For various reasons the first five-year development plan (announced by the Sultan in 1953) ran into difficulties as the Council, rightly or wrongly, began to scrutinize every move made by the administration and the Commissioner of Development. The new development plan required increased manpower, but Bruneians disliked the idea of foreigners flocking into the country, which they felt would undermine their own chances for Government appointments or promotions. They faced a dilemma: for many of the jobs the country simply lacked qualified local manpower. The Commissioner of Development explained the position rather candidly:

The problem of men provides the major difficulty. The State Council has naturally laid down the policy of 'Brunei for the Bruneians' and they are not [prepared] to admit the flood of expatriate staff which would be necessary for the rapid implementation of the Development Plan. Expatriates are admitted only on secondment from the Sarawak Service or on contract and in such case the non-availability of a Brunei-Malay must be shown and the urgency established. Quite rightly, it is the rule that wherever Brunei Malays can be trained their services must be used. Unfortunately the education record of the State has not, in the past, been good, and this was further retarded by enemy occupation during the war and the ensuing need to enlist all, even those with but a scanty education, in Government service and in rehabilitation and production work with the British Malaya Petroleum Company. [67]

The obstructive nature of the State Council -- symptomatic of the times -- was of real concern for a person like Anthony Abell. He was piqued by the attitude of the predominantly aristocratic council, [68] which was becoming a wet blanket even on vital issues that needed immediate disposal in the interests of good government. The solution that came to Abell's mind, perhaps naturally enough, was the dissolution of the Council. Implementation of his scheme for a new political framework for Brunei required in the first place eliminating the hurdle of "those Malay members" of the Council who were "patently unfit for such responsibilities", yet there were difficulties, for "not to appoint these persons, who are mainly of royal blood, would ... cause them and the Sultan's family generally such a loss of prestige that it is doubtful if His Highness would consent to exclude them". [69]

Creation of a Privy Council, enjoying high prestige but bereft of any power, was seen as the solution. It could include all those persons of birth and rank serving on the State Council who were not considered suitable for appointment to either the Executive or Legislative Councils. The prestige of both the princely class and the persons with ascribed status would still thereby be retained, along with their ranks, titles and privileges. The Privy Council's functions, mostly of a ceremonial nature, would certainly be of importance in a monarchy, but its powers would be limited so as to avoid further obstructions to the executive functions of the Government.

These issues collectively provided the principal rationale behind the British proposal of May 1953 that the Sultan grant a Constitution. The process of drafting a constitution for Brunei is a story too complicated to be told within the scope of this paper. [70] The inordinate delay -- the Constitution took almost six years to complete after the initial announcement -- was largely a result of the intransigence of the State Council. After 1954 the Council came to be dominated by some vocal nationalist school teachers, who took their seats as representatives of the District Advisory Councils (DAC) formed in September 1954 in the run-up to the implementation of the new Constitution. Election to the Council was done through traditional methods, including nomination by the Sultan himself. In an effort to widen representation in the State Council, each of the four District Councils was asked to select from one to three of its members to sit as observers. Once the DACs were well established, these representatives we re to be promoted by the Sultan to full membership in the State Council. This was an experiment designed to achieve a quicker transition to a fully representative form of democracy in the proposed Legislative Council. In the Sultan's view, the State Council would also emerge as a forum for reaching consensus by discussion or Musyawara (Arabic for consultation) as stipulated for an Islamic polity.

When the seven observers chosen from among the four DACs were first sworn in on 17 November 1954, it was made clear that their duty was merely to listen to Council deliberations and report back to the DACs. They would be allowed to speak only when the matters at hand were of "definite interest to the DACs" and if the Sultan wished to hear the latter's opinion. Furthermore, if the DACs wished their observers to address State Council on any matter they would have to inform the British Resident at least fourteen days in advance and provide brief resumes of the speech. The British Resident and the Sultan would then decide whether or not to allow the request, and the District Council would be informed of the decision. [71]

The expanded State Council came to be dominated by the few vocal teachers selected as observers. Chief among them were Che'gu Marsal bin Maun, [72] Pengiran Ali bin Pengiran Haji Mohd. Daud, [73] and Che'gu Abdul Manan bin Mohamed. The State Council thus transformed itself into a sort of opposition chamber to question and criticize the British administration. The British officials were disappointed that the Council became a "talk shop". Council meetings were open to the public, and the observers addressed the gathering freely even in the Resident's presence. High Commissioner Abell complained that "as now constituted the Council is difficult to summon frequently and when in session is often obstructive". Moreover, the State Council made "repeated attempts ... to take out of the Resident's hands many executive matters upon which prompt decisions are desirable and which he alone decided in the past". [74]

No one relished this situation more than the Sultan, who outwardly showed politeness towards the High Commissioner and the Resident as they struggled to keep intact their aura of authority in the State Council even as they were no longer able to ride roughshod over the will of its members. A disturbed Abell wrote that "since the admission of the seven 'observers' there has been a growing tendency for the Sultan and the Malay Members 'to play to the gallery"'.75 In short, just as the British were trying to root out the features of the State Council which they found objectionable, a new menace had appeared: the Malay members were using it to exert pressure on the British administration.

From 1954 onwards the State Council became actively involved with matters relating to the drafting of the Brunei Constitution and of a new Agreement between the British Government and Brunei. Abell could not cope with a recalcitrant Council which opposed and even reneged on various commitments given by the Sultan to the British administration regarding these two fundamental documents. The Resident, J. Ormond Gilbert (1953-58), also failed in his attempts to coax the Council to follow accepted principles, an attempt which made him unpopular. In fact, after State Council members baited him over a trivial expenditure by the Public Works Department, the High Commissioner reluctantly recommended his transfer out of Brunei. [76] Abell wrote in disgust about the intransigent attitude of some of the State Council members:

It has been hard and so far unrewarding work. The ignorance and prejudice are of depth and darkness which are never encountered in Sarawak and unless the ballot box can produce an entirely new type of politician unlike any we have so far seen, I have great doubts of Burnei's capacity to make much progress in the political and administrative field.

With the promulgation of Brunei's first written Constitution in September 1959, the State Council era ended. The Council itself was replaced by three other bodies: the Legislative, Executive and Privy Councils. The Resident's post was also abolished, and a High Commissioner stationed in Brunei took his seat as observer/adviser for all three Councils. However, the new Constitution was short-lived; a number of its key provisions were suspended in the aftermath of an abortive rebellion in December 1962, leading to emergency rule (still in effect today). The Legislative Council ceased to exist after 1970. Thus, the representative institutions desired by the British never took root. The British originally designed the State Council to "manufacture consensus" among those they ruled, but when that consensus solidified against them, they could do little to interfere. They were reluctant to use their coercive power; the political climate had changed in Southeast Asia and they had many tasks to complete before granting independence to their subject territories and staging an honourable withdrawal. In Brnnei's case, however, Britain did not succeed in replacing the outmoded State Council with representative institutions in a democratic mould as it had originally planned. With key provisions of the Constitution suspended after 1962, the British goals of democracy, adult franchise and participatory government for Brunei were also put aside for the time being. It might be argued that the policy of manufacturing consensus in the State Council prior to 1950 was partly responsible for subsequent political developments in Brunei.

(1.) For details see, Anthony V.M. Horton, The British Residency in Brunei, 1906-59 (Hull: University of Hull Centre for South-East Asian Studies Occasional Paper No. 6, 1984).

(2.) The earliest such body in the region was in Sarawak, where the White Rajah, James Brooke, set up a Council of State in 1855. Comprised of the Rajah or his deputy, a senior administrator and three or four Malay Datus, it met once a month to advise the Rajah on major decisions. But the SC in Brunei followed the model set in motion by the British in the Federated Malay States (Selangor and Perak in 1877 and Negeri Sembilan in 1889).

(3.) Frank Swettenham, British Malaya, An Account of the Origin and Progress of British Influence in Malaya (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1906), p. 226.

(4.) Ibid., p. 227.

(5.) John M. Gullick, Rulers and Residents: Influence and Power in the Malay States, 1870-1920 (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 39.

(6.) Brunei Annual Report (henceforth BAR), 1909, p. 6.

(7.) See Gullick, Rulers and Residents, p. 43.

(8.) "Silsilah Raja-raja Berunai", ed. Amin Sweeney, Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (henceforth JMBRAS) 41, 2 (1968): 35-37.

(9.) Quoted in D.E. Brown, Brunei: The Structure and History of a Bornean Malay Sultanate (Bandar Seri Begawan: Brunei Museum Journal Monograph No. 2, 1970), p. 94.

(10.) Foreign Office (FO) 12196, Trevenen to Marquis of Salisbury, 2 Apr. 1986, f.l15, quoted in ibid.

(11.) CO (Colonial Office) 53 1/1, McArthur to Colonial Office, 5 Sep. 1907, f. 337; quoted in ibid., p. 94. McArthur saved Brunei from extinction by writing a well-balanced report in 1904 recommending the introduction of the Residential system. He not only became the first Resident in Brunei in 1906, but also won the confidence of the dying Sultan by carrying out British-sponsored reforms without generating much opposition.

(12.) "His Highness will receive a British Officer, to be styled Resident, and will provide a suitable residence for him, The Resident will be the Agent and Representative of his Britannic Majesty's Government under the High Commissioner for the British Protectorate in Borneo, and his advice must be taken and acted upon on all questions in Brunei, other than those affecting the Mohammedan religion, in order that a similar system may be established to that existing in other Malay States now under protection" (emphasis added). For the full version see Bachamiya Abdul Hussainmiya, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin and Britain: The Making of Brunei Darussalam (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1995), Appendix 5, p. 394.

(13.) Brown, A Bornean Malay Sultanate, p. 95.

(14.) The general impression created is that the Brunei SC remained a lacklustre body while the Residents enjoyed unfettered authority over the protectorate's affairs. According to Horton, "once the British Residential System had become fully established [i.e. by the end of 1910], the SC became little more than a rubber stamp for the Resident" (Horton, British Residency, p. 137).

(15.) Personal Communication to A.V.M. Horton, cited in his "The Development of Brunei during the Residential Era, 1906-1959, A Sultanate Regenerated" (Unpublished Ph. D. Thesis, University of Hull, 1985), p. 137.

(16.) CO 1030/1038, "Political situation in Brunei [1962]", report by D.C. White to Lord Landsdowne, 15 Aug. 1962.

(17.) Brown, A Bornean Malay Sultanate, p. 94.

(18.) R.H. Hickling, Memorandum upon Brunei Constitutional History and Practice (typescript, Brunei Museum Library), p. 34.

(19.) Ibid.

(20.) SCM, 16 Mar. 1936.

(21.) BAR 1920.

(22.) Emily Sadka, The Protected Malay States, 1874-1895 (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 1968), p. 184.

(23.) BA/Microfilm No. 5/1979, Accession No. 1282, SCM, 1949-56. The bill was to be passed in the British parliament as the Order in Council of the British monarch.

(24.) BAR, 1908, p. 7.

(25.) SCM, 3 Nov. 1953.

(26.) These figures are in Malayan dollars; during the period in question $1 = 2s. 4d., the same as the exchange rate for the Straits Dollar before the Japanese Occupation.

(27.) BA/Brunei Resident's Notification No. 54 of 19 May 1950.

(28.) SCM, 30 Sep. 1952.

(29.) SCM, 26 Dec. 1939.

(30.) SCM, 9 Dec. 1915.

(31.) Revenue increased from (Straits Dollars) $543,707 in 1910 to more than $1,000,000 in the 1920s. These exports peaked during the rubber boom of 1925 with a total value of $1,859,736, but a favourable trade balance was maintained until the onset of the Great Depression (1929--32).

(32.) CO 53 1/19(1972), No. 363, (Brunei), Memorandum by E. E. F. Pretty, 18 Dec.1925, para. 25.

(33.) J.G. Black (1937-39) was the first Class II Resident to serve in Brunei.

(34.) Sultan Jamalul Alam and his Pengirans must have been shocked to realize the true implications of the Supplementary Agreement 1905-1906 and the accompanying letters of assurances that spelt out the rights and obligations of the British administration towards them. Though guaranteeing the Rulers fixed incomes, the letters of assurances effectively denied them all other rights of taxation and earnings from their appendages, except for cession monies derived from their former possessions in Sarawak and North Borneo.

(35.) SCM, 6 Sep. 1909.

(36.) On realizing the vulnerability of his position and choosing to cooperate with the British, the Sultan was duly rewarded with the restitution of his stipends, a grant of extra loans ($41,000 at seven per cent interest) and then a knighthood in 1914. He was particularly moved by the latter honour, which he accepted with assurances in return that he would not separate himself from His Majesty's Government.

(37.) SCM, 15 Mar. 1913.

(38.) SCM, 2 Dec. 1940.

(39.) See Hussainmiya, Sultan Omar, ch. 2.

(40.) SCM, 7 Aug. 1947.

(41.) SCM, 6 Oct. and 8 Nov. 1947.

(42.) SCM, 5 Oct. 1946.

(43.) SCM, 5 Oct. 1946.

(44.) SCM, 6 Jan. 1946.

(45.) SCM, 1 Feb. 1948.

(46.) SCM, 6 Apr. 1948.

(47.) He attended the first State Council meeting as the new Pengiran Bendahara on 7 August 1947. One of his first and most important contributions was to regulate and formalize a Juma 'ah Shari' ah (officially translated as Mohammedan Religious Board) in Brunei by a special Enactment, as had been the practice in other Malay states. Seemingly it was at his initiative that the Juma'ah Shari'ah, which consisted originally of eighteen members, met for the first time on 31 January 1948. From then onwards all religious appeal cases were referred to this board. BA/0096/83 [previously numbered BRO 78/48], item 46, Private Secretary to H.H. the Sultan to British Resident, 12 Feb. 1948.

(48.) By 1952 there were accumulated assets worth about $144.5 million in the form of investments in bonds, securities, and cash invested abroad and managed by the British Crown Agents (BAR, 1952).

(49.) CO 825/76 (55426/1949), Item 1, Report by L.S. Greening, 12 Apr. 1959, cited in Anthony V.M. Horton, "The Development of Brunei during the British Residential Era 1906-1959: A Sultanate Regenerated" (Ph.D. diss., University of Hull, 1985), p. 380.

(50.) CO 1022/396, item 12, Anthony Abell to CO, No. 54, 13 May 1953, para. 4-5.

(51.) For details of Azahari's career and activities, see Hussainmiya, Sultan Omar, pp. 95-101.

(52.) Possibly Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin's proposed visit to the United Kingdom in 1950 to negotiate with the Colonial Office regarding a revision of the Treaty prompted British authorities to review their legal status in Brunei.

(53.) CO 943/1, 59706, Item 1, C.H. Dawson to A. Creech Jones (Secy of State for Colonies), No. 7, 14 Oct. 1949, para. 2 (parentheses in original).

(54.) Much the same situation prevailed in the Malayan States. As a Colonial Office legal adviser observed, "The power of legislation has been exercised without being questioned since 1909, but the authority for its exercise, while perhaps a matter of legitimate inference, is indirect and implied.... [i]t seems therefore unfortunate that the jurisdiction for the exercise of one of its main functions should be a matter of inference and implications only"; see CO 717/76, no. 72483, memorandum by W.S. Gibson, n.d.

(55.) CO 943/1, 59706, J.C. McPetrie's Minute to Sir Kenneth Roberts-Wray, 20 Jun. 1950, para 3.

(56.) There is no detailed information available on the use of traditional legal codes such as the Hukum Kanun or of Islamic Shari 'a law in Brunei. Versions of the former have been found in Brunei, but in the opinion of Liaw Yock Fang, they are no more than copies of the Undang-Undang Melaka, which he has edited and published. See Liaw Yock Fang, Undang-Undang Melaka (The Hague: Foris Publications, 1978) and R.O. Winstedt, "A Brunei Malay Code", JMBRAS 1(1923):251.

(57.) Dawson to Jones, 14 Oct. 1949, para 11.

(58.) CO 943/1, 59706, Minutes by J.C. McPetrie of 20 Jun. and 9 Aug. 1949, and G.C. Whiteley's Minute of 9 Aug. 1950.

(59.) According to Dato' Sir W.J. Peel, when he was Resident (1946-48), the State Council "was not an executive body"; quoted in Horton, The Development of Brunei, p. 473. This had been true since its inception in 1907.

(60.) For details, see Hussainmiya, Sultan Omar, ch. 8.

(61.) BA/0871/83 (SUK Series 3, Box 73), item 1, Report of the Principal Auditor, Sarawak on the accounts of Brunei for the year ended 31st December, 1952, para. 11 (encl. in Arthur G. Taylor, the Principal Auditor Sarawak to the British Resident, 3 Dec. 1953). An important responsibility fell on the shoulders of the new High Commissioner to Brunei to lay the groundwork for a written constitution. Before this could be achieved, his Legal Office in Sarawak, with the advice of the Colonial Office Legal Division, had first to prepare the groundwork legislation to be put through the Brunei State Council for ratification. By 1951 these arrangements were completed, and in that one year a record number of eighteen legislative Enactments were submitted to the Sultan in Council for approval. The scope and implications of most of the Enactments thus passed were far-reaching. One should remember that 1951 was the year in which Omar Ali Saifuddin III was formally crowned as Sultan. It was therefore a year marked by jubi lation and celebrations in Brunei. In the hurried manner with which the British administration pushed through these Enactments in the State Council, we can detect an eagerness to retrospectively validate the earlier Enactments. It should also be borne in mind that the Sultan's advisers in the Council at this stage were at a disadvantage in scrutinizing these Enactments since they were all written in English. Even so, it can be shown that most of the new Enactments, particularly those dealing with changes to the legal status of Brunei vis-a-vis the British Government, were not passed whole-heartedly by the Council. The Resident, who kept himself out of the State Council proceedings on 14 November 1951, sent a stern written message to the members calling on them to approve the said Enactment on that day, as the Order in Council to be passed by the British Parliament giving effect to the establishment of Her Majesty's Privy Council as the highest Court of Appeal was to be passed within a few hours in London. The re had already been some correspondence between the Secretary of State and the Brunei Government on the matter, and it appears that the Sultan had agreed to the change. But sensing deliberate delay on the part of the Council, the Resident indirectly threatened it with unforeseen consequences.

(62.) BA/0682/198 (SUK Series 3, Box 61), item 17a, SCM, 9 Apr. 1953.

(63.) Ibid.

(64.) BA/Microfilm No. 5/1979, Acc. No.1282, SCM (1949-56), Minutes, 10 Feb. 1951.

(65.) BA/Microfilm No. 5/1979, Acc. No.1282, Budget Speech by the State Treasurer, Annex to the State Council Minutes, 12 Feb. 1953, Item 6.

(66.) BA/Microfilm No 5/1979, Acc. No.1282, Minute, 25 Aug. 1951. Resident Pretty's suggestion in the Council that the post of State Treasurer and Controller of Customs should be split was rejected. Later, the Commissioner of Development complained that several state projects under the first Five-Year Development had to be shelved because the Council did not approve the appointment of technical experts to implement them.

(67.) CO 1030/300, E.R. Bevington, "A Report on the Economic Development of the State of Brunei" (30 Jun. 1955), p. 14.

(68.) For instance, excluding H.H. the Sultan, the State Council included six Pengirans: Duli Pengiran Bendahara (the First Minister), Duli Pengiran Pemancha (the Second Minister), Pengiran Haji Mohd. Salleh (the Chief Kathi), Pengiran Kerma Indera and Pengiran Maharaja Leila. Other members included the British Resident, the State Treasurer, Pehin Orang Kaya Di-Gadong, Pehin [U]dana Laila and Pehin Dato Perdana Menteri Haji Ibrahim Jahfar. (See BA/0260/83 [SUK Series 3, Box 20], Minutes of the State Council, 30 Sep. 1952.)

(69.) CO 1030/113, Anthony Abell to CO. No 47 (secret), 23 Mar. 1954, para 7.

(70.) For details see Hussainmiya, Sultan Omar Chapter 7.

(71.) BA/0935/83 (SUK Series 3, Box 77), Brunei State Council Minutes, 17 Nov. 1954. The seven observers were Che'gu (later Dato) Marsal bin Maun, Pengiran Haji Ali bin Pengiran Haji Mohd. Daud, Pengiran Abu Bakar bin Pengiran Omar, Che'gu Abdul Manan bin Mohammed, Pengiran Abu Bakar bin Pengiran Pemancha, Pengiran Bahar bin Pengiran Shahbandar and Tan Poh Siong.

(72.) Dato Sri Paduka Haji Marsal bin Maun was born on 8 November 1913 at Kampong Pulau Ambok. He had his early education at Jalan Pemancha Malay School, and after passing Standard 4 examination he was appointed as a probationary teacher. In 1930 he left for Malaya together with Dato Haji Bashir bin Taha to follow a teachers training course at the Sultan Idris Training College (SITC) in Tanjong Malim, where he spent three years. On his return in 1933 he became an assistant teacher, and in the following year he was appointed Acting Superintendent of Education and confirmed in that post in 1936 (BA/11053/78 [SUK Series E, Box 10], item 88, memo from M. MacInnes, Director of Education, 22 Apr. 1968). A leading figure in the Brunei Malay Teacher's Union, he became a close confidante of Sultan Omar Ali Safuddin III and the first of the "three M's" feared by the British administration. (The other two were Pengiran Mohamed Ali and Pengiran Mohamed Yusuf Rahim, fellow alumni of SITC.) He played a key role in the eve nts leading to the introduction of the 1959 Constitution. On 1 May 1960 he was appointed Deputy State Secretary, and from 1 August 1961 he became an Acting Mentri Besar, in which post he was confirmed on 1 September 1962. He retired on 4 November 1968 to pursue private business activities. (Information courtesy of Pusat Sejarab File of bio-data of leading personalities of Brunei.)

(73.) Pengiran Dato Haji Ali bin Pengiran Haji Mohamed Daud (now known as Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia di Raja Sahibul Bandar) was born on 6 July 1916 at Kampong Pengiran Pemancha Lama in the town of Brunei. He had his early education at the Jalan Pemancha Malay School. In 1930 he finished five years of schooling and worked as a pupil teacher from 8 February 1933. He left to study at SITC in 1937 and completed his teacher training in 1939. On his return to Brunei he was appointed as a group teacher, a position he held until 1943 during the Japanese occupation. From 1957 to 1958 he served as a Malay Inspector of Schools and was promoted to Chief Inspector of Schools on 11 August 1958. As another close confidante of the Sultan, Pengiran Ali played a key role in winning nationalist demands for Brnnei. He was one of the main figures involved in the re-drafting of the Anglo-Brunei Agreement and the Constitution of 1959, when he introduced drastic amendments to the British version in the Brunei District Advisory Council under his chairmanship. He also represented that DAC as an observer at the Brunei State Council from November 1954 to January 1957. After the 1959 Constitution was launched, Pengiran Ali was appointed as the Acting Head of Majlis Ugama Islam Brunei. On 1 September 1962 he was appointed Deputy Mentri Besar; he resigned in 1965 to contest a by-election. He also served as a member of the Privy, Legislative and Executive Councils, and is now a businessman.

(74.) CO 1030/113, Anthony Abell to CO, No 47 (Secret), 23 Mar. 1955, para 6.

(75.) Ibid., emphasis added.

(76.) Hussainmiya, Sultan Omar, pp. 192-5.
Jan. 1906-Dec. 1907   M.S.H. McArthur (1872-1934)
May-Dec. 1907         H. Chevalier (?1860-1923)
Dec. 1907-Apr. 1908   M.S.H. McArthur (1872-1934)
Apr. 1908-Sep. 1909   J.F. Owen (1869-1942)
Sept. 1909-Nov. 1909  B.O. Stoney (?1882-1910)
Nov. 1909-Nov. 1913   H. Chevalier (?1860-1923)
Nov. 1913-Jan. 1915   Datuk [*] F.W. Douglas (1874-1953)
Jan. 1915-May 1916    E.B. Maundrell (1880-1916)
May 1916-March 1921   Sir G.E. Cator, K.B.E., C.M.G. (1884-1973)
Mar. 1921-Feb. 1923   L.A. Allen, O.B.E. (1888-1971)
Mar. 1923-May 1928    Dato, [*] E.E.F. Pretty, C.M.G. (1891-1967)
Feb. 1926-May 1927    O.E. Venables (1891-1960)
May 1928-Sept. 1931   Sir P.A.B. McKerron, K.B.E., C.M.G. (1896-1964)
Jan. 1929-Aug. 1929   Datuk R.J.F. Curtis, P.J.K. (b. 1897))
Sept. 1931-Oct. 1934  T.F. Carey (1903-1966)
Oct. 1934-Jan. 1937   Sir R.E. Turnbull, K.C.M.G. (1905-1960)
Jan. 1937-Jan. 1940   J.G. Black (b. 1896)
Jan. 1940-Dec. 1941   E.E. Pengilley, E.D. (b. 1897)
July 1946-Jan. 1948   Dato' Sir W.J. Peel, Kt., D.S.L.J., D.S.N.
                      (b. 1912)
Jan.-Aug. 1948        L.H.N. Davis, C.M.G. (b. 1909)
Aug. 1948-June 1951   Dato' E.E.F. Pretty, C.M.G. (1891-1967)
June 1951-June 1953   J.C.H. Barcroft, C.M.G., O.S.S. (1908-1958)
June 1953-July 1954   J.O. Gilbert, C.M.G. (b. 1907)
July-Oct. 1954        Dato' D.H. Trumble, D.P.M.B., P.J.K., O.B.E.
                      (b. 1902)
Oct. 1954-July 1958   J.O. Gilbert, C.M.G. (b. 1907)
July 1958-Sept. 1959  Dato' Sir D.C. White, D.K., K.B.E., C.M.G.
                      O.S.S., P.H.B.S. (1906-1983)
Note: (*.)Datuk denotes a title given by
a Malay(si)an State; Dato' indicates a
Brunei honour.
                       RESIDENCY ERA (1906-1959)
25 May 1885-May 1906        Sultan Hashim Jalil-ul-alam
                            Akamudin (c. 1824-1906)
26 May 1906-Sept. 1924      Sir Mohamed Jamal-ul-Alam II
                            C.M.G., K.C.M.G. (?1889-1924)
27 Sept. 1924-June 1950     Sir Ahmad Tajudin, Akhazul Khairi
                            Wadin C.M.G. , K.B.E.
28 June 1950-Oct. 1967 [*]  Sir Haji Omar Ali Saifuddin III,
                            Sa'adul Kahiri Waddin
                            C.M.G., K.C.M.G., G.C.V.0. (b.
Note: (*.)abdicated.
                      COUNCIL FROM 1907 UNTIL 1955
29 June 1907                      23 Sept. 1913
H. H. The Sultan                  H. H. The Sultan
The British Resident              The British Resident
Pg. Bendahara                     Pg Bendahara
  (Muhammad Pg Tajuddin)          Pehin Orang Kaya Di-Gadong
Pg. Pemancha Pg. Maharaja Leila     (Hj. Mohd. Daud)
Pg. Shahabandar (Pg Anak Ismail)  Pehin Jawatan Luar
Pg. Kerma Indera Pg Suma            (Awang Ahmad)
Tuan Imam (bin Jambul)            Pehin Jawatan Dalam
Pehin Orang Kaya Laxamana           (Hj. Mohd. Hussain)
  (Haji Nuruddin)                 The Dato Patinggi (Abang Arip)
Dato Perdana Menteri
  (Hj. Abd. Rahman Hj. Othman)
Pehin Jawatan Dalam (Abubakar)
22 Dec. 1921                      18 March 1936
H. H. The Sultan                  H. H. The Sultan
The British Resident              The British Resident
Pg. Bendahara                     Pg. Bendahara
Pg. Pemancha                      Pg. Pemancha
Pg. Shahbandar                    Pengrian Shahbandar
Pg. (Ismail Apong)                Pehin Orang Kaya Di-Gadong
Pg. (Tajuddin Hitam)                (Awang Ahmed)
Pg. (Petra)                       Pehin Orang Kaya Laxamana
Pg. (Sabtu)                       Pehin Siraja Khatib
Pehin Jawatan Luar                Pehin Kapitan China
Pehin MahaRaja di Raja              (Ong Boon Pang)
Pehin Dato Sei Maharaja
Pehin Perdana Wangsa
29 June 1907                      19 Feb. 1915
H. H. The Sultan                  H. H. The Sultan
The British Resident              The British Resident
Pg. Bendahara                     Pg. Pemancha
  (Muhammad Pg Tajuddin)          Pg. Bendahara
Pg. Pemancha Pg. Maharaja Leila
Pg. Shahabandar (Pg Anak Ismail)
Pg. Kerma Indera Pg Suma
Tuan Imam (bin Jambul)
Pehin Orang Kaya Laxamana
  (Haji Nuruddin)
Dato Perdana Menteri
  (Hj. Abd. Rahman Hj. Othman)
Pehin Jawatan Dalam (Abubakar)
22 Dec. 1921                      28 October 1940
H. H. The Sultan                  H. H. The Sultan
The British Resident              The British Resident
Pg. Bendahara                     Pg. Shahbandar
Pg. Pemancha                      Pehin Orang Kaya
Pg. Shahbandar                      Di-Gadong
Pg. (Ismail Apong)                Pg. Bendahara
Pg. (Tajuddin Hitam)              Pg Penmancha
Pg. (Petra)                       Pg. (Besar Bagol)
Pg. (Sabtu)                       Pehin Dato Shahbandar
Pehin Jawatan Luar                Inche Awang bin
Pehin MahaRaja di Raja              Mas Hanafiah
Pehin Dato Sei Maharaja
Pehin Perdana Wangsa
22 Dec. 1921                     18 March 1936
Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar
Kapitan China
Pehin Orank Kaya Laxamana
Pehin Siraja Khatib
Pehin Dato Imam
Pehin Udana Khatib
Khatib (Abdullah)
28 April 1942
(The Japanese Period)            6 April 1948
H. H. The Sultan                 H. H. The Sultan
Pg. Besar Bagol                  The British Resident
Dato Perdana Menteri             The State Treasurer
 (Haji Abdul Halim               Pg. Bendahara
 Abdul Rahman)                    (Pg. Muda Tengah)
Pg. Bendahara                    Pg. Pemancha
 (Pg. Anak Abd. Rahman)          Pg. Shahbandar
Pg. Pemancha                     Chief Kathi
 (Pg. Anak Haji                   (Pg. Haji Mohd.
 Mohd. Yassin)                    Salleh)
Pg. Muda Tengah                  Pehin Orang Kaya
 [later Sultan Omar Ali           Di-Gadong
 Saifuddien III]                 Pehin [U]dana Leila
Pg. Shahbandar                   Inche (Ibrahim bin
 (Pg. Anak Hashim)                 Mohd. Jahfar)
Chief Kathi                      Pg. Kerma Indera,
 (Pg. Hj. Mohd. Salleh)           (Pg. Mohammed
Pehin Orang Kaya Di-Gadong        Pg. Piut)
 (Mohd. Yusuf                    Kapitan China
 Mohd. Hussain)                   (George Newn
Pehin Dato Shahbandar             Ah Foott)
 (Abang Seruji Abang
 Haji Thaha)
Inche Awang bin
 Mas Haji Hanafi
Private Secretary to the Sultan
 (Hasan bin Mohd.
 Kulap Mohammed)
Brunei State Secretary
 (Mohd. Ibrahim Jahfar)
22 Dec. 1921                     28 October 1940
Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar
Kapitan China
Pehin Orank Kaya Laxamana
Pehin Siraja Khatib
Pehin Dato Imam
Pehin Udana Khatib
Khatib (Abdullah)
28 April 1942
(The Japanese Period)            28 February 1955
H. H. The Sultan                 H. H. The Sultan
Pg. Besar Bagol                  The British Resident
Dato Perdana Menteri             Pg. Bendahara
 (Haji Abdul Halim                (Muda Hashim bin
 Abdul Rahman)                    Pg. Anak Abdul Rahman)
Pg. Bendahara                    Pg. Pemancha
 (Pg. Anak Abd. Rahman)           (Haji Mohd. Alam bin
Pg. Pemancha                      Pg. Anak Abdul Rahman)
 (Pg. Anak Haji                  Pg. Maharaja Leila
 Mohd. Yassin)                    (Pg. Anak Abdul
Pg. Muda Tengah                   Kahar bin Pg. Yassin)
 [later Sultan Omar Ali          Pg. Haji Mohd. Salleh
 Saifuddien III]                 Pehin Orang Kaya
Pg. Shahbandar                    Di-Gadong
 (Pg. Anak Hashim)               Pehin Dato Perdana Menteri
Chief Kathi                       (Ibrahim bin Jahfar)
 (Pg. Hj. Mohd. Salleh)          Brunei Petroleum Company
Pehin Orang Kaya Di-Gadong        Representative
 (Mohd. Yusuf                    The State Treasurer
 Mohd. Hussain)                  Kapitan China
Pehin Dato Shahbandar             (George Newn Ah Foott)
 (Abang Seruji Abang
 Haji Thaha)
Inche Awang bin
 Mas Haji Hanafi

Private Secretary to the Sultan
 (Hasan bin Mohd.
 Kulap Mohammed)
Brunei State Secretary
 (Mohd. Ibrahim Jahfar)

Notes: Pg. = Pengiran (Brunei Nobles)

Hj= Haji

Pehin (highest title given to non-nobles)

Sources: BA/FC/RBM/57, Minutes of State Council from 29 June 1907 to 31 August 1949;

BA/1249/1983 (SUK Series 3, Box No.95), Minutes of the State Council.
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Date:Sep 1, 2000
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