Oil-rich Brunei. Source: Wikimedia
The 10th child of the Sultan of Brunei has been sent to Malta to represent the affluent monarchy at the Commonwealth Summit being held on the Mediterranean island.
Prince Abdul Mateen, 24, has been in Malta for two weeks and reportedly booked two complete floors at the Radisson Golden Sands.
The keen footballer, who has played for the Brunei team AM Gunners, followed Britain’s Prince Harry’s example by enrolling at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the British Army’s centre for officer training.
In 2011, the Brunei Times described the Crown Prince’s passing out parade as “a proud moment at Sandhurst”.
Sultan Hassanai Bolkiah has ruled the tiny oil-rich state on Borneo since 1967 when he succeeded his father.
The sultan, one of the world’s wealthiest men, announced this year that he would phase in sharia law, that calls for homosexuals and adulterers to be stoned to death.
Thieves can now be flogged or lose limbs and failure to attend Friday prayers is punishable with fines or imprisonment.
“Theory states that Allah’s law is cruel and unfair but Allah himself has said that his law is indeed fair,” the Sultan said at the time.
Back home, the prince’s military has been flexing its muscles.
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and Royal Brunei Navy (RBN) concluded their bilateral naval exercise, called Pelican, on Friday (November 27).
This year’s exercise, which started on Monday, involved a series of tactical discussions and naval simulations. Personnel from both navies also reportedly shared skills to deepen operational knowledge of aviation and patrols.
Anti-surface, anti-submarine and anti-air operations were conducted.
RSN Fleet Commander Rear-Admiral Lew Chuen Hong said: “Over the years, we have built great friendships and deepened inter-operability, and the exercise remains a key platform to enhance relations between the RSN and RBN. I am confident that we will continue this close friendship and deepen our cooperation across the maritime domain.”
Established in 1979, Exercise Pelican gives ongoing evidence of the ties between tiny Singapore and Brunei.
Besides Exercise Pelican, the RSN and RBN also interact regularly through regular visits and exchange programmes.