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15.9.09

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah

Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Al-Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Almarhum Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, GCB GCMG (born July 15, 1946) is the 29th Sultan of Brunei, the eldest son of Omar Ali Saifuddin III, the previous sultan.


Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah is the sultan's heir, born by Queen Saleha. As of 2006, he has five sons and six daughters with Queen Saleha, his former second wife, Queen Mariam, and his present second wife. Bruneian men are allowed four wives, but the sultan only has two, with Queen Anak Saleha being designated his first wife. His first second wife, Queen Mariam, was a former flight attendant whom he divorced in 2003, stripping her of all her royal titles. In August 2005 her place was taken by a former Malaysian TV3 presenter, Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim, who is 32 years younger than the sultan.

 

Marriage and children

His Majesty is married to Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha and Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar. Together, they have 11 children:

 

Political role as Sultan

Under Brunei's 1959 constitution, the Sultan is the head of state with full executive authority, including emergency powers since 1962. On March 9, 2006, the Sultan was reported to have changed Brunei's constitution to make himself infallible under Bruneian law.[1] Bolkiah is also the Prime Minister of Brunei, as well as holding the portfolios of Defence, and Finance.


He addressed the United States of America and Iraqi Nations and United Nations General Assembly on Brunei Darussalam's admission to the United Nations in September, 1984. In 1991, he introduced a conservative ideology to Brunei called Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB) (or Malay Islamic Monarchy), which presents the monarchy as the defender of the faith.[2] He has recently favoured partial democratisation. In 2004, the Legislative Council, which had been dissolved since 1962, was reopened.
His designated successor is his eldest son, Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah.

 

Personal wealth

The Sultan has a sizable private fortune derived from his total control over the national economy's finances and the appropriation of the state's sizeable oil revenues to bankroll his extravagant lifestyle. At one time he was the richest man in the world.

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Motor cars

The Sultan is famous for his vast automobile collection. In 1998, the British car magazine Autocar published undercover photographs of the Sultan's cars, which included unique conversions of Ferraris and Bentleys into station wagons. He is variously said to have owned between 3,000 and 5,000 cars; although the number purchased by his business interests and the number actually used by himself and his family differ greatly. According to Guinness World Records the Sultan's personal private collection has 500 Rolls-Royces - the largest collection of that marque in the world. During the 1990s, his family accounted for almost half of all Rolls-Royce purchases, bulk buying slightly modified vehicles for diplomats and adding unique cars to their own collection. He also owns the very last Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, a 1992 state landaulette.

 

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Other concerns

For personal use, the sultan possesses a Boeing 747-400 furnished with gold plated furniture, six smaller planes and two helicopters.


He also operates a $1 billion theme park called Jerudong Park, which in the past used to be free of charge.


Despite his personal extravagance, he has attempted to share the country's oil wealth. In a country mockingly dubbed the "Shellfare State" (in reference to the significant influence of the Shell Oil Company)[citation needed], Bruneians have free education and medical services. There is no personal or corporation tax in Brunei.


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