from POLITICAL OUTLOOK
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 October 2015
In May 2005 the Sultan of Brunei announced a long-awaited cabinet reshuffle, which incorporated a number of innovations. The first innovation is the institution of two new cabinet positions: senior minister and minister for energy in the Prime Minister's Office. Crown Prince Al Mutadee Billah was given the senior minister position, which marked his formal induction into the cabinet structure. This can be looked at as training the heir to the throne for the job of governing within a monarchical framework. It would also help to ensure a smooth and effective succession in the near future.
The additional appointments of the Crown Prince as a General in the Royal Armed Force and Deputy Inspector General of Police, as well as his frequent visits, as senior minister, to various ministries further highlighted the preparation for political succession. The sudden marriage of the Sultan to a young Malaysian, which has dented his popularity especially among Bruneian women, also fuelled speculations about the Crown Prince ascending the throne sooner rather than later.
Another innovation in the cabinet structure is the introduction of the position of second minister in the ministries taking charge of finance and foreign affairs. The Sultan and his brother, Prince Mohammed, hold the ministerial position in both ministries respectively. Having second ministers to help with these portfolios will alleviate the workload of the Sultan, who is also Prime Minister, and of Prince Mohamed, who is also Head of the Brunei aristocracy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been enlarged to become the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade by absorbing the Division of International Relations and Trade (previously under the Ministry of Industries and Primary Resources).
Land area: 5,765 sq. km.
Capital: Bandar Seri Begawan
Type of government: Monarchy
Head of State and Prime Minister: Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah
Currency used: Brunei dollar (on par with the Singapore dollar)
US$ exchange rate on 1 December 2005: US$1 = B$1.69
- Regional OutlookSoutheast Asia 2006-2007, pp. 19 - 62Publisher: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak InstitutePrint publication year: 2006