Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei - Brunei's sultan called for "stronger" Islamic teachings in the country on Wednesday as tough new sharia laws, including death by stoning for gay sex and adultery, were due to come into force.
"I want to see Islamic teachings in this country grow stronger," all-powerful Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said in a public address near the capital Bandar Seri Begawan.
But he failed to mention the controversial new penal code or announce it had entered force, as had been widely expected. The government previously announced the new code would fully come into force Wednesday.
The sultan, who has been on the throne of the oil-rich nation on Borneo island for 51 years, also said that Brunei was "fair and happy", in the face of growing global criticism about the new punishments.
"Anyone who comes to visit this country will have a sweet experience, and enjoy the safe and harmonious environment," the sultan told an audience in a convention centre, in an address to mark a special date in the Islamic calendar.