How Anti-LGBTQIA Laws Are Affecting Brunei's Economy

Brunei is the first Southeast Asian country to introduce stoning punishment for gay sex

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Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific
2 min read

The international boycott against Brunei is growing. Days after the tiny oil-rich country introduced the stoning to death penalty for having gay or lesbian sex, thousands of LGBTQIA campaigners staged a protest in London in front of one of the Dorchester Hotels that has ties with the Sultan of Brunei.

The protestors have demanded the British government to cut all ties with Brunei until the decision is overturned.

In other countries, authorities have voiced against Brunei’s decision to implement one of the most barbaric Sharia laws against the LGBTQIA community.

Celebrities like George Clooney, Ellen DeGeneres and Elton John have taken to social media to express their disappointment and spread the word for revoking the law, urging people to boycot Brunei-owned hotels worldwide. The United Nations, too, has slammed the “cruel and inhumane” law.

Business Takes a Hit

The decision has hit the business of Brunei. The Dorchester Hotel chain, owned by the Sultan of Brunei, lost a string of high-profile bookings on April 6 after the outrage on streets from campaigners. 

STA Travel, a global travel agency owned by privately-held Swiss conglomerate Diethelm Keller Group, refused to sell flights on national carrier, the Royal Brunei Airlines. What’s more, Virgin Australia Airlines, the biggest airlines in Australia after Qantas, ended ties with Royal Brunei Airlines.

Raising the voice in solidarity, Deutsche Bank banned its staff from staying in the nine luxury hotels of the Dorchester Collection, which is owned by Brunei’s state-owned Brunei Investment Agency (BIA).


The wave of #BoycottBrunei has spread to universities as well. More than 50,000 people have signed a petition, calling on the Oxford University to rescind an honorary degree awarded to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, 72, the world’s second-longest reigning monarch and prime minister of the oil-rich country.

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