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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Brunei

    Article 83(3) of the Constitution of Brunei contains provisions for the protection and management of the environment and for other purposes connected therewith.

    The State possesses the following powers in relation to environmental matters:

  • Power of Inspection
  • Power to take samples
  • Power for remediation of land
  • Power to issue remediaI order or stop-work order
  • Power of arrest
  • Power to act in cases of emergency
  • Furnishing of deposits

Featured Legislation

1983: This Law is composed of 4 articles. The breadth of the territorial sea of the State of Brunei shall be twelve nautical miles, measured in accordance with international law (art. 1). A large-scale map of low water marks, baselines, and outer limits and territorial waters of Brunei shall be published on order of the Sultan and the Yang Di-Pertuan.

1984: Quarantine and Prevention of Disease (Animals) Regulations were announced. These Regulations under sections 91 and 92 of Quarantine and Prevention of Disease Act, establish animal protection measures including animal quarantine and prevention of disease. They specify that no animal shall be imported, or transshipped from one ship to another within Brunei Darussalam, without the express permission in writing of the veterinary officer. A person importing any animal shall, immediately upon arrival and before entering or landing it, report in writing the fact to the veterinary officer. If, in the course of transit from the place of export, any animal has been entered or landed at any port, the veterinary officer may refuse permission to enter or land it in Brunei Darussalam. If the veterinary officer establishes that the animal is infected or is in such a condition that it is expedient that it should be destroyed, he may order to destroy it or be kept under supervision at the risk and expense of the importer. No animal shall be conveyed from one place in Brunei Darussalam to another place in Brunei Darussalam without the express permission in writing of the veterinary officer.

1984: The Water Supply Act (Akta Bekalan Air) c.121 was enacted, granting provisions for waste offences relating to the waterworks, diverting streams or misappropriation of water.

2002: The Pollution Control Guidelines for the Industrial Development in Brunei Darussalam were adopted for the control of emissions, effluents and discharge from various development and construction activities.

2005: The Prevention of Pollution of the Sea Order was created to prevent disposal of waste from ships, including refuse, garbage, effluents, plastics, and dangerous pollutants.

2007: Wild Fauna and Flora (Fees and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations were tabled. These Regulations provide for the fee to be paid in respect of a permit or certificate to trade in wildlife species and for the registration of scientific institutions involved in the non-commercial loan, donation and exchange of live plant materials, legally acquired animal and plant specimens, etc.

2008: The Prevention of Pollution of the Sea (Garbage) Regulations were passed, specifying plastic discharge prohibitions, covering all plastics, including but not limited to synthetic ropes, synthetic fishing nets, and plastic garbage bags.

2012: The Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines for Brunei Darussalam were brought into force, serving as a guideline for officials to survey, predict and assess environmental impacts and study possible environmental protection measures relating to prescribed activities in the following areas:

  • Agriculture
  • Airport
  • Drainage and Construction
  • Land Reclamation
  • Fisheries
  • Forestry
  • Housing
  • Industrial
  • Infrastructure
  • Ports
  • Mining
  • Petroleum
  • Power Generation and Transmission
  • Quarries
  • Railways
  • Transportation
  • Resort and Recreational Development
  • Waste Treatment and Disposal
  • Water Supply

2013: The Hazardous Waste (Control of Export and Transit) Order was signed, providing for the regulation of the export, import and transit of hazardous and other waste.

2016: The Environmental Protection and Management Order was passed, granting provisions for the investigation of environmental incidents

2017:  The Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam Order was created. This Order, consisting of 123 sections divided into 16 Parts and four Schedules, made under Article 83(3) of the Constitution, provides for the Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam. This Order does not apply to vessels belonging to or for the time being in the service of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan or of the Government. The Minister may, by notification published in the Gazette, direct that any provision of this Order or any regulations made apply to any vessel referred to in subsection (i) as may be specified in the notification. Part 2 establishes the Maritime and Port Authority which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and shall, by that name, be capable of performing the following activities: suing and being sued; acquiring, owning, holding and developing or disposing of property, both movable and immovable; etc. Part 8 specifies Regulation of Port. Part 12 deals with Public license authorizing provision of marine or port services and facilities. Part 15 lists down offenses and penalties for illegal activities

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • Brunei is ramping up efforts to investigate and solve environmental-related crimes through the formation of a dedicated task force to exercise actions against perpetrators who pollute the environment. Environment and Water Resources Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man revealed that police will also be given the authority to take immediate actions against environmental criminals as per the amendments to the Environmental Quality Act. The new task force will include the Department of Environment (DOE), The Water Services Commission (SPAN), The Biosafety Department and the police. This new cross-sector partnership will allow for better and faster enforcement with the support and expertise from the authorities involved, improving areas of logistics, forensics and intelligence, as well as law and enforcement. The decision to expand the reach of law enforcement comes as a response to the environmental incident at Sungai Gong, a drainage service facility in Rawang, Malaysia. Under Section 43 of the Environment Quality Act, proportionate action will be taken against not just the company that caused pollution, but the company director, chief executive officer, manager and other officers involved in the crime.

References and Further Reading


Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation Ministry of Development: