The Sultan of Brunei is the monarch and head of state in Brunei. The Sultanate dates back to the first Sultan, Muhammad Shah, who founded the country in the late 14th century. The current sultan is Hassanal Bolkiah, as of 2015. He inherited the title and country from his father, Omar Ali Saifuddien III.Continue Reading
The Sultan of Brunei is one of the richest men in the world, and Brunei has one of the highest per capita incomes in Asia. Brunei's wealth comes from ample oil and gas reserves. Sultan Bolkiah has a taste for affluence, owning over 7,000 high-performance cars and customized private jets. He was once the richest man in the world before being overtaken by Bill Gates in the 1990s.
The Sultan of Brunei also serves as Brunei's head of government in his capacity as prime minister. Sultan Bolkiah appoints his own cabinet and all members of the Brunei's legislative council, where the last true election occurred in 1962. Sultan Bolkiah made some minimal democratic reforms in the 2000s, but also imposed sharia law in 2014.
Though the sultanate continued through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the United Kingdom controlled the country as a protectorate during this period. Sultan Bolkiah's father regained control of internal matters in 1959, and Sultan Bolkiah regained control of foreign affairs in 1984.Learn more about Foreign Laws