Singapore-born former Queen of Malaysia dies aged 86

Malaysia's fourth Queen, the Singapore-born Tengku Ampuan Intan Zaharah Almarhum Tengku Seri Setia Raja Tengku Hitam Omar, died on Saturday, state news agency Bernama reported. She was 86.

The former queen, or Raja Permaisuri Agong, who was Tengku Ampuan Tua (Grand Dowager Queen) of Terengganu at the time of her death, died at Pantai Hospital in Kuala Lumpur at 3.26pm, the report said. It did not give the cause of death.

Terengganu state secretary Osman Muda was quoted as saying the state would observe a 40-day mourning period and the state flag would be flown at half-mast until March 4.

"Her remains are expected to arrive here at 10am Sunday and taken to Istana Maziah and then to Abidin Mosque for funeral prayers. She will be laid to rest at the Royal Mausoleum next to the mosque after Zohor prayers," he told reporters according to Bernama.

Datuk Osman said national and state dignitaries were expected to pay their last respects to the late Tengku Ampuan Tua Terengganu from noon until 1pm Sunday at Istana Maziah while the public could do so from 11am to noon, Bernama reported.

The Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin and Sultanah Nur Zahirah, were now on their way back to Malaysia from abroad, Datuk Osman added.

Born in Singapore on April 13, 1928, Tengku Intan Zaharah married Tuanku Ismail Nasiruddin Shah on April 3, 1944, and was crowned Tengku Ampuan Terengganu, or Queen of Terengganu, on June 6, 1949.

She was Queen or Raja Permaisuri Agong from 1965 and 1970, during which she was conferred the Grand Order of the Mugunghwa by the South Korea President Park Chung Hee in 1966 and received the Darjah Utama Mahkota Negara (Order of the Crown of the Realm) the same year.

Upon the death of Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah in 1979, she was made Tengku Ampuan Besar (Dowager Queen) of Terengganu, and became Tengku Ampuan Tua on the death of her stepson, Sultan Mahmud Shah, in 1998.

seokhwai@sph.com.sg