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Pandemic leadership: lessons learnt from a small state of Brunei Darussalam

Khairul Hidayatullah Basir (Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali, Gadong, Brunei Darussalam)
Ummi Fa’izah Abdul Rahman (Centre for Promotion of Knowledge and Language, Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali, Gadong, Brunei Darussalam)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 30 April 2021

Issue publication date: 13 July 2022




This paper analyses the leadership approach and practices of the Brunei Government, in response hitherto to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.


A review of the available resources and existing literature on COVID-19 and crisis management in Brunei is conducted, consequently drawing lessons on effective measures of Brunei experience in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.


The main key lessons of Brunei's success factors in tackling the COVID-19 outbreak are the “Whole of Government Approach” and “Whole of Nation Approach”. It is to be noted that the approach would not be successful without the approval and full support of the monarch himself and, more importantly, the public's cooperation. Engaging in constant updates with the government's willingness to have themselves be led by recognised experts has gained public trust, which leads to the success of containing COVID-19, which resulted Brunei not needing to opt for a lockdown, which in turn did not lead Brunei to succumb to the second wave of COVID-19.

Research limitations/implications

Brunei experiences in containing novel coronavirus will help international scholars, especially in Muslim countries, to understand the lessons and develop a robust pandemic leadership model.

Practical implications

The lessons and strategies used by Brunei can be used as an exemplary approach to prepare for any future uncertainties by other countries.


The literature on pandemic leadership during COVID-19 in Brunei is scarce. This study might be considered as the first attempt to exhibit strong crisis leadership capacity in Brunei which resulted in the success of containing COVID-19.



Basir, K.H. and Rahman, U.F.A. (2022), "Pandemic leadership: lessons learnt from a small state of Brunei Darussalam", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 109-117.



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