On October 5, the oil-rich Muslim Sheikhdom of Brunei marked the 50-year rule of Sultan Haji Sir Hassanal Bolkiah,71, with great pump-and-show. The celebrations are expected to last for one month and would include the opening of Brunei’s first cable-stayed bridge, the unveiling of a major new urban park and a state banquet at the gold-domed palace on Friday. The royal banquet will be attended by regional leaders as well as British prince Edward and princess Sophie and Middle Eastern royalty. Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte is also in Brunei to attend to celebration.
In addition, over 200 foreign journalists have reached Brunei to cover the event.
Sultan Bolkiah, the 29th Sultan of Brunei, is world’ sixth richest monarch (US$40 billion) mostly invested in hotel chains, real-state, Halal food factories and commercial airlines in UK, US, China and Monte Carlo.
However, Bolkiah has a Zionist Problem; he refuses to have any dealing with Zionist entity, has lately implementing partial Islamic Shari’ah in his Sheikhdom, and supports an independent Palestinian state.
Bolkiah visited China in June which resulted in signing US$3.5 billion oil-gas exploration deal. China has strategically leveraged into Hassanal’s Vision Brunei 2035, a long-term state-steered plan launched a decade ago to reduce the nation’s dependence on fuel exports and reposition the country as a new Islamic Singapore.
Sultan Bolkiah is world’s second-longest reigning monarch after Queen Elizabeth of United Kingdom. He was appointed Crown Prince at age 15 and ascended to the thrown in October 1967.
Oil and natural gas reserves were found in Brunei in 1929. Currently, Brunei is fourth top producer of oil in Asia and number one producer of natural gas in the region.
Brunei has a population of less than 400,000. There is no income tax and all education, and medical expenses are paid by the government (here).
Brunei, a British colony for a century, continue to pay over US$30 million per year for a battalion of British Gurkhas to defend it since its independence on January 1, 1984. Last year, former Indian vice-President Muhammad Hamid Ansari, during his visit offered Indian military help to Brunei against China.
Brunei is part of Malay Archipelago currently divided into Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, East Timor and Brunei. No Muslim army ever invaded Malay Archipelago. Islam was spread by Arab traders involved in camphor, pepper and gold. The first Sultanate was established in Brunei when its ruler Awang Alak Betatar accepted Islam and took the name Sultan Muhammad I (1368-1403). By 1478, most of people in neighboring islands ruled by Hindus, embraced Islam.