Pahang Regent a king in the making

Pahang Regent Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and his wife, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Iskandar, at the Pahang Royal Council Meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
Pahang Regent Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and his wife, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Iskandar, at the Pahang Royal Council Meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.PHOTO: BERNAMA

Up until just a week ago, Pahang Regent Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah was probably more known to the average Malaysian as the face of the national football association, which he helmed for four years until 2017.

Now however, he stands to be the country's next King, as he is set to succeed his father to become the sixth Sultan of Pahang on Tuesday.

It is a role he has been primed to fill since he stepped into his father's shoes nearly 40 years ago in 1979 to rule Pahang state as Regent while Sultan Ahmad Shah took his turn at the throne as Malaysia's seventh King for five years under the rotation system practised by the nation's nine royal houses.

He was only 20 years old then, but his years of study and training in the United Kingdom - including at Britain's prestigious royal military academy Sandhurst in 1980, followed by a foreign affairs and diplomacy course in Oxford a year later - would stand him in good stead.

He took on the mantle again as the Pahang Regent two years ago, when the Sultan, now 88 years old, fell gravely ill.

The fourth of eight siblings and the eldest son, Tengku Abdullah was born on July 30, 1959, in the royal town of Pekan to Sultan Ahmad Shah and the late Tengku Afzan Tengku Muhammad.

He first attended primary school locally, then went on to study at St Thomas' primary and secondary schools in the state capital Kuantan. He then left for England, attending Aldenham School in Hertfordshire.

 
 

A keen sportsman from a young age, Tengku Abdullah played football, hockey and sepak takraw. He performed well enough at football to represent his state.

His sporting interest would lead him to head several national bodies, including the Football Association of Malaysia, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation and the Royal Malaysian Polo Association.

In 1986, Tengku Abdullah married another royal, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Iskandar, a sister of the current Sultan of Johor.

Tengku Abdullah has nine children - four sons and five daughters.

While the Regent is known nationally as a patron of the sports, he is a more familiar face in his home state where he spent his formative years accompanying his father on visits to subjects in need, a practice he continues today.

Even as excitement mounted over his upcoming ascension to the throne, the Regent and his wife took time to grace a local wedding yesterday afternoon.

According to Utusan Malaysia, the wedding in Temerloh town was that of the son of Datuk Mohd Musa Noor Mohd, president of the Malaysian Athletics Coaches Association.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 13, 2019, with the headline 'A king in the making'. Print Edition | Subscribe