From the 15th to 17th centuries, the whole island of Borneo was under the control of the Brunei Sultanate as a trading power. Territory was gradually lost through wars, piracy and colonial expansion, and in 1888, Brunei became a British Protectorate. It later turned down an opportunity to join the Federation of Malaya (with Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah), gaining full independence in 1984. Modern Brunei is based around the three pillars of Malay culture, Islam, and absolute monarchy. The present sultan is King Hassanal Bolkiah, who represents one of the oldest continuous ruling dynasties in the world for over 600 years. Officials are unelected (unique among ASEAN countries) with the monarch holding absolute executive and legislative powers. Brunei became the first East Asia country to adopt sharia law, first announced in 2013 and then gazetted in 2019.