Sultan of Brunei Visits Oklahoma

Monday, March 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Sultan of Brunei was in Oklahoma City on Monday for undisclosed medical reasons, a corporate air representative said.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah arrived in Oklahoma City on a corporate jet around 6:15 p.m. Sunday, said Randy Johns with AAR Aircraft Services.

Johns said he heard Bolkiah was in town for medical reasons.

``That's just been the rumor that's been going around, but his people haven't communicated anything to us at all,'' Johns said.

Johns said the plane Bolkiah flew in on remained in a restricted area, and that officials had no word on when he might depart.

No other details about the medical reasons for Bolkiah's trip were available.

Bolkiah left Brunei Sunday for the United States. Details of the trip were not made public in Brunei, indicating that it was unofficial.

Hassanal, 54, has had heart problems for years and had surgery in London in the mid-1990s to install a pacemaker. He regularly travels overseas for medical checkups, usually to the United States.

Formerly a keen polo player, Hassanal gave up the sport due to his illness.

Hassanal was crowned in 1968, becoming the 29th sultan in his line which dates back to the 14th century. He has two wives and 10 children.

The sultan is the supreme ruler of Brunei, a tiny enclave on the northwestern coast of Borneo island with a 320,000 predominantly Muslim population. The country's rich oil reserves have made the sultan one of the world's richest men. Hassanal also acts as prime minister, defense and finance ministers.