The Sultan of Brunei, once the world's richest man, may not realise it, but he is well on the way to killing the geese that lay his golden eggs.
Hassanal Bolkiah, who is second only to Queen Elizabeth II as the world's longest reigning monarch, raised eyebrows when he signed off on Draconian, sharia-style laws for the tiny majority Muslim state in 2014.
The sting was taken out of the worst of them when it was also announced they would be rolled out piece-meal and over an extended time frame.
It seems a fair bet many diplomats, who saw the legislation which, amongst other things, imposed death by stoning as the penalties for homosexuality and adultery, as an attempt to divert local attention away from the foundering economy, thought he would change his mind.
That, unfortunately, has not happened. Five years have flashed by and the new laws came into effect on Wednesday.
While George Clooney, Elton John and the United Nations have all been quick to condemn the latest development, our government seems to have been caught flat footed.
One gay couple, who contacted the Smart Traveller website to find out if the new laws applied to them as they were flying to Europe on Royal Brunei Airlines and would be stopping over in the Sultanate, were reportedly told "if you act heterosexual you should be fine".
Smart Traveller now warns prospective visitors to the country the anti-gay and anti-adultery laws apply to everybody, whether they be Muslim, non-Muslim or just passing through on a plane or ship.
Penny Wong, to her credit, tweeted that the new penal code is in breach of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and that the Labor Party is "deeply concerned".
It seems remarkable, in view of the international campaign that has been waged against Islamic state, the Taliban and al-Qaeda since September 11, that Bolkiah - whose personal extravagance is legendary - would think arbitrarily cruel and barbaric "punishments" for consensual acts that are perfectly legal in most countries are acceptable.
Penny Mordaunt, the UK secretary of state for international development, perhaps said it best when she tweeted: "No one should face the death penalty because of who they love. Brunei's decision is barbaric and the UK stands with the LGBT+ community and those who defend their rights".
Bolkiah can hardly be surprised Elton John and George Clooney are leading the charge for a boycott on the many luxury hotels he owns across Europe and America. Australian activists are reportedly mobilising in an attempt to have Royal Brunei Airlines banned from flying to this country. In this age of social media these are significant developments.
Unlike pariah states such as North Korea and Iran, his nation of less than 500,000 is heavily dependent on foreign trade. The Sultan could pay a very heavy price for retreating into medieval intolerance and brutality. His country's economy is in such poor shape he has had to turn to China for billions of dollars in investment funding.
If Bolkiah loses the goodwill of the West, Brunei risks becoming a client state "ruled" by a figurehead taking his instructions from foreign masters.
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