Pahang royals to meet this week to discuss regent's possible succession of ailing sultan

(From left) Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak, who is currently Deputy King; Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, who stepped down as Malaysia's king; and Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the Regent of Pahang, at the 2017 installation ceremony for the former k
(From left) Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak, who is currently Deputy King; Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, who stepped down as Malaysia's king; and Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the Regent of Pahang, at the 2017 installation ceremony for the former king.PHOTO: BERNAMA
Pahang's Sultan Ahmad Shah, 88, who was elected Malaysia's seventh king in 1979, is not in good health.
Pahang's Sultan Ahmad Shah, 88, who was elected Malaysia's seventh king in 1979, is not in good health.

KUALA LUMPUR • The Pahang royal household will meet this week to discuss the possibility of the Regent of Pahang succeeding the state's ailing sultan.

That will pave the way for the regent to become Malaysia's 16th king, the New Straits Times (NST) reported yesterday.

The report, which cites a royal source, came as Malaysia seeks to elect a new monarch after the Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V, abruptly stepped down as the 15th Malaysian king on Sunday.

Under Malaysia's unique five-year rotation system involving the nine royal houses, the next in line for the Malaysian throne is Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang, 88, followed by Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar of Johor, 60, and Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak, 62.

Sultan Ahmad Shah, who was elected Malaysia's seventh king in 1979, is not in good health. His son, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, 59, has been regent for two years, playing the role of acting ruler in the east coast state.

"The matter (proposal to install Tengku Abdullah as sultan) was submitted by several influential family members and advisers in the royal house. Sultan Ahmad has been informed of the matter," a royal source said, according to the NST report.

Said the source: "The meeting on the abdication will be held this week. It is to be attended only by close family members and advisers.

"The sultan is unwell. Tengku Abdullah has been handling state matters in his father's stead. Based on the rotation system, it is Pahang's turn to be the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after Kelantan. We wish to respect the rotation system."

 
 
 

Under the Pahang Constitution, the succession of rulers can take place if the sultan consents to relinquish his rights and powers.

The abdication must be accompanied by a warrant to acknowledge the relinquishing of powers, signed and stamped with the state's seal by the outgoing ruler.

The signing of the warrant must be witnessed by the menteri besar and the state secretary. The warrant would then have to be declared in the government gazette and to the people in the state.

Aides to Tengku Abdullah and the sultan's office in Pekan declined to comment, due to the sensitivity of the matter, the NST report said.

The report cited sources as saying that Sultan Ahmad had sought treatment at the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur, and was discharged two weeks ago.

Tengku Abdullah is returning from London to attend the meeting, which is expected to take place at the Pahang palace.

On Monday, the Conference of Rulers decided to hold a meeting on Jan 24 to select the new king and hold the new monarch's oath-taking ceremony on Jan 31.

On the possible ascension of Tengku Abdullah as Pahang sultan, Associate Professor Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, a constitutional expert, was cited by NST as saying: "You need to be a sultan before you can be king, regardless of seniority at the state's throne.

"This can be seen in the election of Sultan Muhammad V as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 2016 despite being sultan only in 2010.

"The same goes for the rotation system. It is only during the first rotation, which began in 1957, that the seniority of rulers was implemented in guiding the selection process."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2019, with the headline 'Pahang royals to meet this week over succession issue'. Print Edition | Subscribe