BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei — Brunei's sultan announced Tuesday that a new Islamic criminal law that could include penalties like amputation for theft and stoning for adultery will be enforced in six months.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said the Shariah Penal Code, which would be applied to Muslims only, should be regarded as a form of "special guidance" from God and would be "part of the great history" of the tiny, oil-rich monarchy on Borneo island.
"By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled," the sultan said at a legal conference in Brunei's capital.
Brunei's Shariah Islamic court had previously handled mainly family-related disputes. The sultan has been hoping to implement the new law for years to bolster the influence of Islam in Brunei, where Muslims make up about two-thirds of the population of nearly 420,000 people.