As the monarch of a rich state, Brunei's ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, has been named as one of the richest men in the world. His wealth mainly comes from oil,
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.|
and he has attracted international attention by purchasing luxury hotels in Singapore, Britain, and the United States, while making generous donations in the United Kingdom. All members of the Bruneian royal family are engaged in business transactions such as property purchasing and rental.
Wage and benefit packages in Brunei tend to be generous and the labor shortage ensures that most citizens command good salaries. There are nonetheless unemployed and poor members of society, but most of these live under the protection of an extended family system, where idle youth can find shelter and the aged and infirm are cared for. The citizens enjoyed a per capita GDP of US$17,600 in 2000.
Oil-rich Brunei has a wealth that enables the sultanate to maintain a welfare state . All Brunei citizens receive free education (through university for those who qualify), free health care, and various other subsidies such as subsidized housing, food, fuel, and low-interest loans for government employees. Brunei's health care system is one of the best in Asia. Every citizen of Brunei pays only a nominal fee for medical and dental services. Medical treatment unavailable in Brunei will be conducted overseas (usually in Singapore) at government expense.