Pahang ruler elected as Malaysia's new King: Strict succession order followed to pick new king

Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin has been elected to reign as Malaysia's king for five years, under a unique rotation system involving the nine Malay royal families. He will be officially installed as king on Thursday next week.
Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin has been elected to reign as Malaysia's king for five years, under a unique rotation system involving the nine Malay royal families. He will be officially installed as king on Thursday next week.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Pahang ruler elected as Malaysia's new king after special meeting

Malaysia's new king was yesterday elected by following strictly the order of succession that had been laid out since independence 60 years ago.

This was despite some speculation that there could be a surprise in the ascension of the new constitutional monarch.

The Malay royal houses elected Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin, the 59-year-old ruler of Pahang, after a special meeting of the Conference of Rulers.

Eight of the nine rulers were present, including Sultan Abdullah himself.

Only the Kelantan ruler, Sultan Muhammad V, was absent,

It was the abdication of Sultan Muhammad V on Jan 6, after just two years as king, that brought about the ascension of Sultan Abdullah yesterday.

The abdication followed news that he had married a Russian beauty queen outside Malaysia.

Till today, neither the Kelantan ruler nor the Malaysian government has confirmed this despite widespread photos of the supposed wedding on social media.

Under the succession order laid out after independence from Britain in 1957, the Pahang house would be next in line to become the Malaysian king, followed by Johor and Perak.

The ascension of the Pahang ruler followed strictly the order of succession as laid out since Malaysia's independence from Britain in 1957. The Pahang house was next in line to become the Malaysian King, followed by Johor and Perak.

Sultan Abdullah will now reign for five years as the king under a unique rotation system involving the nine Malay royal families.

Top state officials and Malaysians poured their congratulations through mainstream media and on social media.

Muhammad Izwan Shah posted on his Facebook account: "Congratulations Tuanku (Your Majesty). May Allah bless the country under your reign and may the country prosper and become more developed."

Although the Malay rulers have rather limited roles as constitutional monarchs at state and federal levels, they are seen as important symbols of Malay political power and protectors of Islam in the Malay-majority country of about 32 million people.

 
 

Sultan Abdullah will be officially installed as Malaysia's king on Thursday next week.

He became Malaysia's Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or Supreme Ruler, just over a week after he was installed as the new ruler of Pahang, after his father, Sultan Ahmad Shah, 88, stepped down due to declining health.

In a grand installation ceremony at the royal palace in Pekan, Sultan Abdullah was bestowed the full royal title of Al-Sultan Abdullah Ria'yatuddin Al Mustafa Billah Shah ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah al-Musta'in Billah.

The new King is known to be a keen sportsman, while his wife, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Iskandar, is an avid cook.

Tunku Azizah, 58, is the younger sister of the ruler of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.

Sultan Abdullah has nine children.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2019, with the headline 'Strict succession order followed to pick new king'. Print Edition | Subscribe