Penal Code (Amendment) Order, 2021

With the consent of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Attorney General's Chambers hereby gives notification of the passing of the Penal Code, Amendment, Order, 2021 on the 4th of Rabiulawal 1443 Hijrah corresponding to 11th October 2021. The Order deals with amendments to Chapter 17 of the Penal Code relating to offences against property. The Penal Code, Amendment, Order, 2021 is one of the measures taken by the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan to stem the proliferation of offences affecting key services, such as cable theft.

With 20 offenders having been prosecuted for cable theft offences from January to September this year, it has become imperative that the law has the necessary mechanisms to deal with these offenders in an exacting manner and deter other would-be offenders. The amendments seek to strengthen the law in relation to property offences by introducing new offences, expanding on current offences as well as enhancing the punishments of such offences, particularly where such acts cause or are likely to cause disruption to key services. Key service for the purposes of the amendments covers a wide range of services which includes a service directly related to the provision to the general public of electricity, broadcasting and telecommunications, and others.

The new Section 380B deals with the offence of theft causing disruption to any key service, and the new Section 427B deals with the offence of mischief causing disruption to such key service. Both offences carry a minimum punishment of 3 years imprisonment and 4 strokes of whipping and a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment and 12 strokes of whipping. The amendments also provide alternative punishments for offenders who may be exempted from whipping, such as females and males over the age of 50. In these cases, they may be sentenced to an additional term of imprisonment of up to 12 months, instead of whipping.

Meanwhile, the current offences of dishonestly receiving stolen property under Section 411 Penal Code and assisting concealment of stolen property under Section 414 Penal Code have been expanded to include situations where the stolen property is related to a key service or is a component part of a key service. Where an offence under Section 411 or Section 414 has been committed involving stolen property that is related to a key service or any component part of a key service, the amendments provide that the offender shall face a higher maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a fine, or both. This is a higher term of imprisonment than if the offence committed did not involve property related to a key service.

Source: Radio Television Brunei