Brunei

Brunei

Postby winston » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:46 pm

Sultan of Brunei divorces third wife

AFP
AFP Global Edition

Jun 16, 2010 23:30 EDT

The sultan of the small oil-rich kingdom of Brunei has divorced his third wife and stripped her of all royal titles after five years of marriage.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, 63, divorced Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim, 30, a former Malaysian television journalist, whom he married in 2005, according to state television late Wednesday.

"The Sultan has divorced his wife Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim and all the royal titles that have been awarded to the Sultan's former wife have been withdrawn," Grand chamberlain Haji Alauddin Haji Abu Bakar announced on Radio Television Brunei.

He said the divorce was granted based on "special reasons" but no other details were given. Rumours of the royal break-up had been circulating in the capital in recent weeks.

During their marriage, Azrinaz bore two children, adding to the Sultan's 10 heirs from earlier marriages.

The pair married in a private ceremony in Kuala Lumpur in 2005.

The ruler remains married to his first wife Anak Hajah Saleha and their son Prince Al Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah, is the present heir to the throne.

He married his second wife, former stewardess Mariam Abdul Aziz in October 1981 but divorced her in 2003.

Hassanal Bolkiah came to the throne as the kingdom's 29th sultan in 1967 upon the abdication of his father. He has a reported fortune of 20 billion dollars built on Brunei's oil and gas reserves.

Source: AFP Global Edition
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Re: Brunei

Postby kennynah » Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:21 pm

Somehow, it always seems odd for a man to marry a woman 1/2 his age. Can a woman really be attracted to a man old enough to be her grandfather?
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Re: Brunei

Postby winston » Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:40 pm

Why not ? Some people wants "Love & Money & Power", others want "Love & Youth" :P
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Re: Brunei

Postby LenaHuat » Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:25 pm

"Special" reasons :lol: That was the same reason given for the 2nd divorce. His second wife went off with a lover to London and pots of cash and properties too. His eldest son by the second wife gave posh and lavish birthday parties, the most noteworthy being momentarily graced (maybe it was greased) by Michael Jackson:-
http://leaksource.blogspot.com/2007/05/king-of-pop-michael-jackson-attends.html
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Re: Brunei

Postby kennynah » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:27 pm

winston wrote:Why not ? Some people wants "Love & Money & Power", others want "Love & Youth" :P


i say it's just 喜新厌旧 :mrgreen: no need to use "love" as the excuse...

dare to do...have the guts to admit it... at least, it wont appear to be fool"hardy".... :lol:
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Re: Brunei

Postby winston » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:25 pm

Brunei prince's suit vs. ex-attys is NYC sensation

It involves royalty, loyalty, big money, supposedly illicit transactions and sexually explicit statues. In other words, it's not your average lawsuit.

Brunei's notorious "Playboy Prince" Jefri Bolkiah looked on Tuesday as his legal fight with some former advisers went to trial, promising jurors a peek at the life of a royal renowned for surrounding himself with such luxuries as gilded toilet-paper holders.

They'll peer into a palatial hotel, elaborate estates and multimillion-dollar deals — even if they may be the only people in town who can't get a look at the life-sized, erotic statues once kept at one of his properties.

The artwork is just one of the eye-catching features of the dispute between Jefri, the youngest brother of the sultan of Brunei, and Jefri's ex-lawyers Thomas and Faith Zaman Derbyshire, a married British couple. He says they stole about $7 million from him; they say he owes them $12 million or more in promised payments.

The case has quickly become a tabloid talker thanks to those statues, though it's primarily a dispute over the decidedly less titillating issue of lawyer-client relationships. Or at least the court's trying to make sure it is.

"It's not about how rich any of the parties may be. ... It's not about anybody's lifestyle," Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Ira Gammerman — who once told Woody Allen that "I'm the director here" in court — admonished jurors Tuesday.

"This case is not about sex," the judge added, "although it might have been much more interesting if it was."

The prince, sporting a dark blue suit, said nothing but watched intently from the plaintiffs' table.

Jefri, who is in his 50s, is part of one of the world's wealthiest families and one of its most sensational royal family feuds.

His brother Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (HAH'-sahn-ahl bohl-KAY'-ah), Brunei's supreme ruler, famously lives in a 1,788-room palace in his tiny, oil-rich country, nestled on the southeast Asian island of Borneo. The sultan once had his polo shoes delivered to the field by helicopter for a match he was playing with Britain's Prince Charles.

Nonetheless, Jefri cuts an extravagant figure, even for the ultrarich.

There's his style: A 2001 auction of some of his possessions featured gold-plated hot tubs, new fire engines and gilded trash bins and toilet-paper holders. He also once owned more than 2,000 cars, 600 properties, nine aircraft and five boats, according to a 2008 Delaware court ruling.

There's his personal life: Four wives, 17 children and 18 adopted wards, according to Brunei media. And, at least at one point, a coterie of roughly 40 women competing for his attention at nightly parties, according to "Some Girls: My Life in a Harem," a recent book by American writer Jillian Lauren.

And there's his alleged looting of his country's money, which spawned years of tension with his powerful brother.

Brunei's government accused Jefri of embezzling nearly $16 billion from Brunei's state coffers while he was its finance minister, nearly bankrupting the country.

Jefri has denied any wrongdoing, saying he had authority to use state funds. But he agreed in a 2000 settlement to repay the nation's investment arm the money he allegedly used to buy hotels and other expensive items.

The Brunei Investment Agency launched court proceedings in 2004, saying the prince hadn't given up about such promised plums as the New York Palace hotel and the Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles. He said he needed the assets to maintain his lifestyle, but Britain's Privy Council — the final court of appeal for many former British colonies — ordered him to turn them over in 2007.

A British judge issued an arrest warrant after Jefri skipped a June 2008 hearing on the issue.

During all that, he hired the Derbyshires in 2004, giving them broad authority to handle his legal problems and help run several companies he then owned.

"He gave them the keys to the palace," Linda Goldstein, a lawyer for some of the companies, told jurors Tuesday, but "this story does not have a fairy-tale ending."

The Derbyshires exploited his trust "to line their own pockets in ways that were both spectacular and spectacularly petty," she said.

Just a few of the couple's schemes, according to the prince's legal papers: Using more than $5 million of the prince's proceeds from selling a Las Vegas ranch to buy themselves homes in Manhattan Beach, Calif.; awarding themselves a a $500-a-month lease on an apartment worth far more at the New York Palace, and charging more than $18,000 worth of beauty treatments and $1,000 in motorcycle accessories to Jefri's corporate credit cards.

The Derbyshires say they worked diligently for the prince, making deals in his best interest and getting benefits he authorized as a way of paying them — but still ending up far short of what they were owed. The two sides are disputing the basic fee the prince agreed to pay the couple but agree it was at least a total of 2 million pounds a year. They were fired in 2006.

"The Derbyshires have not taken a dime," one of their lawyers, Mark A. Cymrot, told jurors. "(Faith) was entitled to pay her own fees. That is what she did, and not a dime more."

But none of this, of course, is what's caused the stir surrounding the trial. That honor goes to the several nude statues once kept at an estate the prince owned on New York's Long Island.

The pieces were crafted by noted sculptor J. Seward Johnson Jr., whose representatives didn't immediately respond to inquiries this week. They told The Daily Beast, a news and opinion website, last week that the pieces were commissioned anonymously.

Word — and pictures — of the statues emerged after the prince's lawyer asked the court to keep them out of the trial, saying "jurors easily could be offended."

Gammerman ordered lawyers Tuesday not to mention the pieces during the trial.

Source: AP News
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Re: Brunei

Postby winston » Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:53 pm

Sultan of Brunei's Daughter's Wedding May Cost $20 Million, is Going on for a Week

Possibly the most lavish wedding the world has ever seen happened Friday, in Brunei, where the Sultan's daughter Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah, 32, married a 29-year-old civil servant.

The ongoing week-long celebration is estimated to involve 2,000 guests and will end this Sunday night, when the newlyweds are presented at court.

The ceremony itself, according to the UK paper The Daily Mail, took place in the Istana Nurul Iman Palace, a 1,700 room palace that's home to the Sultan and his family.

The princess's older brother, heir to the throne of Brunei, married in 2004 at a speculated cost of $5 million, reports say, but wedding planner Maya Kalman, founder of Swank Productions in New York City confirmed Yahoo! Shine's suspicion that this wedding might cost much more than that.

"The rule of thumb for our average luxury wedding is $1,000 per guest," Kalman says. "I would guesstimate that a no-holds-barred event like this could easily be $15 to $20 million."

Those figures include only wedding itself. Additional celebrations throughout the week could be an additional $15 to $20 million, Kalman speculates.

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/photos/sultan- ... slideshow/
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Re: Brunei

Postby winston » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:43 pm

Life of Rich People: Brunei Sultan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LhiRFCj8FE
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Re: Brunei

Postby behappyalways » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:38 am

汶萊王子超豪婚禮
水晶鞋綠寶石鏈閃爆
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Re: Brunei

Postby behappyalways » Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:51 am

Brunei: All pray and no work

An autocratic sultanate turns more devout as oil money declines

LIKE a weird tropical flower, the Palace of the Light of Faith opens to subjects of the Sultan of Brunei for three days each year. It is a 1,800-room pile on the edge of Bandar Seri Begawan, the tiny state’s sleepy capital. In its vast banqueting hall thousands of Bruneians tuck into a breakfast of beef curry and honey-roast chicken, piled up on gold-rimmed plates.

Later, the men queue to greet the sultan in a green-and-gold reception room (the sultan’s wife receives the women in a separate chamber). The royal family shakes tens of thousands of hands.

This annual event, held last month to celebrate the end of Ramadan, is a chance for Bruneians to praise Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the world’s richest men and few remaining absolute monarchs. They will have another chance on August 15th, when he marks his 69th birthday.

Bountiful oil has made Bruneians the fourth most wealthy people in Asia, with generous state handouts. That has helped forestall criticism of an autocratic government. But now reserves of hydrocarbons are dwindling, to which the government seems to have few answers—other than fostering a harsher form of Islam. Last year it announced plans to introduce a severe form of sharia (Islamic law).

Perched on the northern coast of the island of Borneo, surrounded to landward by Malaysia, Brunei gained full independence from Britain only in 1984, having chosen in the 1960s not to join the federation that became Malaysia. Oil has gushed since the 1920s.

The money from that—plus Brunei’s firm support for ASEAN, the ten-member Association of South-East Asian Nations eyeing closer integration—lends the country of about 400,000 a clout that belies its size.

Yet Brunei is no brash Gulf emirate. The capital is quiet and surprisingly scruffy, even if Bruneians seem pretty content. The sultan, who has ruled since 1967, enjoys genuine popularity, especially among the ethnic Malays who make up the majority of the population.

Bruneians pay no income tax, enjoy free education and have access to cheap home loans and social housing. Many men find comfortable jobs in government: attendance at Friday prayers and royal ceremonies is compulsory; hard work is optional.

The oil that greased the social contract

However, tumbling oil prices have begun to undermine this cosy social contract. Oil- and gasfields are ageing, their equipment increasingly costly to maintain. With petrodollars scarcer than before, Brunei’s economy has contracted for two years in a row and will shrink in 2015, when the government will run a budget deficit of 16% of GDP.

The IMF has advised it to freeze public-sector wages and hiring, cut fuel subsidies and abandon big projects. It calls for measures to boost low productivity and encourage job growth.

Huge fiscal reserves provide a big cushion. But the softness points to bigger worries ahead. Without new discoveries, Brunei’s oil and gas reserves will last only 24 years, according to a report by BP, an oil company. The returns from surpluses invested overseas over the years could take up a lot of the slack.

Marie-Sybille de Vienne, a French academic, guesses that the country has assets of at least $170 billion, equivalent to roughly ten times its GDP. Yet she calculates that by 2030 cash from those investments will be able to contribute 27-45% of GDP—in other words, perhaps considerably less than the 54% contribution to GDP made by oil and gas in the ten years to 2010.

The solution, it was agreed in a government-sponsored report nearly a decade ago, is to boost a private sector that accounts for only a quarter of the economy (outside the oil and gas sector). The government is building roads, bridges and power projects to draw in Japanese and other investors and encourage manufacturing, such as a much-trumpeted methanol factory.

It sees opportunities in Islamic finance. It wants to make Brunei a research, certification and export hub for halal food, drugs and cosmetics. It talks of attracting more tourists, perhaps to tour its jungle which, unlike Malaysia’s next door, has not been turned into palm-oil plantations.

These attempts have brought “gradual progress”, according to the Asian Development Bank. That is polite. In the decade to 2014 Brunei’s economy expanded at an average of less than 1% a year, the slowest rate in South-East Asia and well below the 6% annual growth that the government had hoped for.

A high-paying civil service continues to steal talent from private employers, while trussing them in red tape. Firms in Brunei’s halal cluster have not found it easy to meet its rigid religious standards, and tourist numbers have not grown as hoped. A strict ban on booze limits the country’s appeal to decadent infidel holidaymakers.

It is against this sluggish backdrop that the sultan is taking an ever more dogmatic line over how Brunei’s religious heritage is to be considered. Brunei’s increasingly strict Islamic penal code may soon allow for stonings and amputations.

The first of three stages towards full sharia, launched in May 2014, has enforced fasting during Ramadan and brought a crackdown on Christmas and new year celebrations.

The second stage, due this year but seemingly delayed, will be more severe. The change is undermining one of Brunei’s big draws for investors: a stable legal system based on English law.

Some think the new penal code aims to give Brunei’s royals more ways to quash dissent. Another, simpler theory is that the sultan, who led a wild youth, has grown more religious.

Zealots assert that a more pious Brunei will probably grow faster, because Allah will perhaps let it discover more hydrocarbons. The growing consensus, as one analyst puts it, is: “You don’t need to work, but to pray.”

Source: The Economist
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