The Tuai Rumah in Brunei Darussalam: Continuity and Challenges

  • Li Li Pang UBD School of Business and Economics, Universiti Brunei Darussalam


Research on the Iban community in Brunei Darussalam, whose lifestyles and leadership structure are recognized by the government, is scarce. This paper is an attempt to understand the role of the Tuai Rumah, the leader of an Iban longhouse and a recognized administrative position in the country’s local administration as well as the challenges they face in ‘administrating’ in their community. The community’s culture and tradition are endangered as younger members of the community have moved to urban areas in search of employment and better access to public services and are not exposed to their ancestors’ traditional lifestyles. It is possible that the institution of the Tuai Rumah may be abolished in the next decade unless the government re-consider strategies to improve and invest in rural development. 


Ahmad, F.B. and Ismail, G. (2003). Medicinal Plants Used by Kadazandusun Communities Around Crocker Range. ASEAN Review of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation (ARBEC), Vol. 1, pp. 1-10.

Azahari, I. (2018, September 16th). Age Limit Lowered for Village Heads, Penghulus. Borneo Bulletin, Retrieved

Azaraimy, H.H. (2018, May 29th). 450 Embrace Islam Annually in Brunei. Borneo Bulletin, retrieved

Borneo Bulletin, (2017, April 15th). Brunei Fighting Tooth and Nail to Protect Forest. Retrieved

Brown, D. E (1970). Brunei: The Structure and History of A Bornean Malay Sultanate. Monograph of the Brunei Museum Journal, Vol 2, No. 2. Brunei: Muzium Brunei.

Brudirect (August 15th 2016). Sultanate to Use Technology to Manage Forest Resources, Curb Illegal Logging. Retrieved

Budiman, Ed, Hairah, U., Haeruddin, Tejawati, A, Darmawan, S. and Wahyuni. S. (2018). Biodiversity Information System of Medicinal Plants from Tropical Rainforest Borneo Based on Traditional Knowledge Ethic of Dayak. Advance Science Letters, Vol. 24, (11), pp. 8668-8673.

Caniago, I. and Siebert, S.F. (1998). Medicinal Pant Ecology, Knowledge and Conversation in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Economic Botany, Vol. 52, (3), pp. 229-250.

Chevallier, H. (1910). Report on the State of Brunei for the Year 1910. Singapore: Government Printing Office.

Coluzzi, P. (2010). Endangered Languages in Borneo: A Survey Among Iban and Murut (Lun Bawang) in Temburong, Brunei. Oceanic Linguistics, Vol. 49 (1), pp.119-143

De Vienne, M.S. (2015). Brunei: From the Age of Commerce to the 21st Century. Singapore: NUS Press.

Economic Planning Unit (EPU) (1985). Brunei Darussalam Statistical Yearbook 1984/1985. Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei: Ministry of Finance

Faisal, F. (2018, May 17th). Man Jailed for Possession of Forest Produce, Illegal Entry. Borneo Bulletin.

Halperin, S. and Heath, O. (2017). Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills: 2nd Edition. NY, USA: Oxford University Press.

Hazair, H. (2018). Sultan Urges Parliament to Find More Avenues of Economic Growth. The Scoop, March 5th, 2018. Retrieved

Idris, A. (2018, March 7th). MPRT Targets 4-Fold Rise in Paddy Production. Borneo Bulletin. Retrieved

Jabatan Perancangan dan Kemajuan Ekonomi (JPKE)(2018). Population Census 2001 and 2011. Personal Communication.

Jabatan Perancangan dan Kemajuan Ekonomi (JPKE)(2017). Highlights 2017. Accessed

Jabatan Perancangan dan Kemajuan Ekonomi (JPKE)(2016). Brunei Darussalam Statistical Yearbook 2016. Brunei Darussalam: Prime Minister's Office.

Lim, D. (2018, July 31st). Spotlight on Kedayan Way of Life. Borneo Bulletin. Retrieved

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) (1992a). Skim Perkhidmatan Penghulu Dan Ketua Kampong Negara Brunei Darussalam. Bandar Seri Begawan: Ministry of Home Affairs.

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), (1992b). Skim Perkhidmatan Ketua Rumah Panjang Negara Brunei Darussalam 1992. Bandar Seri Begawan: Ministry of Home Affairs

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) (2015). Skim Perkhidmatan Penghulu Dan Ketua Kampong Negara Brunei Darussalam 2015. Bandar Seri Begawan: Ministry of Home Affairs.

Norjidi, D. (2018, March 21st). 'Paddy Culture' Needs to be Continued From Generation to Generation. Borneo Bulletin. Retrieved

Pang, L.L. (2015). Minority Participation in an Islamic Negara. Journal of Islamic Governance, Vol, 1 (1).

Pang, L.L. (2018). Penghulu and Ketua Kampongs: Relevancy and Challenges in Brunei Darussalam. Advances in Social Sciences, Education and Humanities Research, Vol. 191, pp. 173-187.

Pelita Brunei (2018, October 8th). Iklan Jawatan Kosong Dalam Kementerian hal Ehwal Dalam Negeri. Retrieved

Pelita Brunei (2018, October 15th). Iklan Jawatan Kosong Dalam Kementerian hal Ehwal Dalam Negeri. Retrieved

Sercombe, P. (1999). Adjacent Cross-Border Iban Communities: A Comparison with Reference to Language. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde / Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania, Vol 155 (4), pp. 596-616

Sidhu, J.S. (2010). Historical Dictionary of Brunei Darussalam. Maryland, USA: Rowman and Littlefield.

Temburong District Website (2018). Profile Mukim. Retrieved

The Borneo Post (2013, October 15th). Don't Involve in Rural-Urban Migration Aimlessly, Ibans Told. Retrieved

The Borneo Post (2016, July 3rd). Miri in Need of More Iban Community Leaders. Retrieved

The Borneo Post (2018, September 14th). Rethink Decision for Pan Borneo Highway to Bypass Brunei - MP. Retrieved

The Brunei Times (2011, February 12th). Organised Crime Hurting Brunei Forests. The Brunei Times. Retrieved

The Scoop (2018, September 25th). Home Affairs Minister Urges Citizens to Participate in Village Elections: Voter Turnout Should Be No Less Than a Third of Registered Voters, According to Regulations. Retrieved

The Scoop (2018, September 27th). So You Want to be A Ketua Kampung? Here 's the Full List of Vacancies. Retrieved

The Star (2018, September 7th). Realignment to Bypass Brunei. The Star. Retrieved

Wasil, W. (2018, September 27th). So You Want to be A Ketua Kampong? Here's The Full List of Vacancies. Retrieved

Wong, A. (2017). The Story Behind the Revival of Brunei's Most Remote Settlement. Retrieved

How to Cite
Li Pang, L. (2018). The Tuai Rumah in Brunei Darussalam: Continuity and Challenges. Journal of Borneo-Kalimantan, 4(2), 1-14.