And this is not a joke: anyone found illegally celebrating Christmas in Brunei could face up to five years in prison or a fine of $20,000, according to the declaration of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. At least 65 per cent of Brunei’s 420,000-strong population are Muslims and the local Islamic religious leaders have promoted the ban arguing that a different interpretation of Islam should be possible if Christmas will be celebrated. Other severe punishments – as stoning and amputation described as sharia – are included in the actual penal code in Brunei. No one will have the courage to use clothes that resemble Santa Claus because this is considered a criminal ofense.. Brunei is estimated to have a population of just under 430,000. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has ruled Brunei as an absolute monarch since 1967.