Ahmed Abdelhaq Zaydan · FollowLives in Meknès, Morocco (1900–present)Updated 3yWhy did the Sultan of Brunei suddenly want to establish Sharia Law?
To ensure the continuation of the Monarchy
Brunei is like Saudi Arabia, an oil state, however its oil reserves are running out and by 2030 Brunei will have none left. Unlike Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States however, the Sultan of Brunei failed to build up an investment fund meaning Brunei is going to collapse economically as the money that Brunei should have saved instead went to the Royal Family.
Prince Jefri, we know a lot about his life because he really did have a large harem with dozens, hundreds of women. Many of whom left and became like:
Jillian Lauren who wrote a whole book about her time in Prince Jefri’s harem: Some Girls: My Life in a Harem.
This is why recently the Sultan has decided to align with China and join its new economic initiative as he’s hoping that the inflow of Chinese investments may help Brunei quickly develop new industries to offset the end of oil.
Which is highly possible, despite only having 11 years, if not for one issue:
The people and their reaction
While the Royal Family may have used a large portion of the oil money on itself, it also created a somewhat decent welfare state for its people. Brunei citizens do not pay taxes, receive public sector employment and other benefits.
However with the end of oil, the Sultan will have to end many of those things. Public sector employment will no longer be easily accessible, welfare payments will decrease and Bruneians will have to pay hefty taxes to finance the State.
In such a situation, the people will blame the Monarchy and turn on them. More importantly, people may not be very happy that 50 years of Monarchy has squandered their country’s oil wealth.
With 500 cars, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has the largest collection of Rolls-Royce vehicles (Today this is a cool article but in 2030 when the people of Brunei have their benefits slashed, this article will make them very very very angry.)
Hence the Sultan’s alignment with Islamic Scholars
Just like the Saudis, the Sultan is hoping to form a pact with the country’s Islamic Scholars where they back him and his dynasty in exchange for him giving them political power.
This has seen him reversing many of his earlier decrees and laws, permitting the construction of Islamic schools, increasing the amount of money he previously gave Islamic Scholars (basically giving them pay raises) and now giving them legal authority as well.
Will this work?
The Sultan’s vision is quite simple. By 2030 he wants the Monarchy to be financed by China and backed by Islamic Scholars. This will see him juggling competing interests as both China and the Islamic Scholars will ask for concessions.
For example, China may ask for a military base in Brunei to better oversee the Straits of Malacca as neither Indonesia nor Malaysia nor Singapore would ever agree to such a thing. If the Sultan says no, then China can cut off the money pipeline to Brunei.
Likewise Islamic Scholars may demand the Sultan pass laws they support. Say, mandatory Mosque attendance. If the Sultan refuses, then the Scholars may decide that maybe it is forbidden in Islam to have a yacht named “Tits” and proclaim the Royal Family may not even be Muslim.
If Sultan Hassanal and his successors juggle well, their monarchy may last decades longer until a solution is found. If they can’t…. Well then, as an aspiring historian it’ll be interesting to document the Bruneian revolution of 2037.
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