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H. Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei

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Under Brunei's 1959 Constitution, the Sultan is the head of state with full executive authority, including emergency powers since 1962.

 

 

He was born on July 15, 1946 in Brunei Town (now called Bandar Seri Begawan). He became crown prince in 1961 and sultan on October 5, 1967, after his father abdicated voluntarily. His coronation was held on August 1, 1968. Like his father, he has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, of which Brunei was a protectorate until 1984.

The Sultan received high school education in Malaysia's premier school Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur, where he joined the Cadet Corps (Band). After receiving a private education in Brunei, the Sultan graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in October 1967, and has since received an honorary doctorate from a Russian university.

In 2003, received Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humanities and Culture by the Gadjah Mada University, UGM, Yogyakarta, Republic of Indonesia.

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. 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. 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.

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. He is one of the richest people in the world, with an estimated net worth of $22 billion.

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 modifications of Ferraris and Bentleys. It has been said that he has atleast 3,000 to 5,000 cars and has bought over $4 Billion worth of cars.

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.

Among his collection are the Porsche Carrera GT, Lamborghini Diablo Jota, Porsche 959, Bugatti EB110, Lamborghini Murcielago LP640, Maybach 62, Jaguar XJR-15 and six Dauer 962's. He is also the owner of six models of the Ferrari FX, the original red show model of the Bentley Continental R, two fully operational versions of the Ferrari Mythos concept car, both of the Ferrari 456 GT Sedans, the only Right hand drive Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR in the world, five McLaren F1's including both black LM models and three Cizeta-Moroder V16T cars. He also possesses a Formula One car as driven by every Formula 1 World Drivers Champion since the 1980 Formula One season, particularly the ones driven in the last race for each season. A prime example of this is Jacques Villeneuve's Williams FW19 which still bears the collision damage courtesy of Michael Schumacher in the 1997 European Grand Prix.

He has a special interest in buying one-of-a-kind concept cars, including the Bentley Java and Bentley Dominator 4x4, whilst leaving slightly more common race cars such as the Aston Martin AM3 or the modified Mercedes-Benz 300SL to his brother Jefri. The collection of vehicles was for the most part stored and serviced in five aircraft hangars, where specialist teams from the various manufacturers would maintain the collection.

For personal use, the sultan has a Boeing 747-400 furnished with gold plated furniture with an estimated value of $233 million including $3 million on furniture, six smaller planes and two helicopters.He also operates a $3 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), Bruneians have free education and medical services. There is no personal or corporation tax in Brunei.He once bought and donated a state-of-the-art team bus to Newcastle United but took it back when Kevin Keegan quit as manager.

Some details given to the Privy Council were released with information on the salaries of the Sultan's staff: His badmington instructor was paid 1.8 million euros (similar salary to masagists), the staff in charge of his exotic birds were paid 70,000 euros, residence personnel in his residences were paid around 6.4 and 10.5 million euros, and his 5 public relations assistants were given 8.3 million euros each.His official residence is the Istana Nurul Iman.

The Sultan holds an honorary commission in the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom as an Air Chief Marshal.He is also an Honorary Admiral of the Fleet of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, a title given to him by Queen Elizabeth II when he took the salute at the passing out parade of the 2001 summer term at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, the Royal Navy's officer-training school in the United Kingdom.

 

 

 

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