Who will be the Next King of Malaysia?
The Sultans of Pahang, Johor and Perak are next in line to assume the role of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, according to the unique rotation system that determines the succession of Malaysia’s supreme ruler.
The rotation system has been in place since 1994, after the rulers of nine states with hereditary lines of succession, had their turn as King since Malaysia’s independence in 1957.
According to the election process set by the Conference of Rulers, only the nine Malay rulers may be elected as Agong for a five-year term, and only they can vote.
When the nine meet on January 24, the candidate in pole position for Agong will be whoever occupies the throne of Pahang. The sultan of Pahang must secure five out of nine “suitable” votes to be elected and offered the post of Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Pahang’s Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah could be the next Agong if the state’s royal household installs him as the next sultan. – Facebook pic, January 9, 2019.
According to a New Straits Times report, the Pahang palace is currently working to install the state’s Regent and Crown Prince, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, as the new Sultan before January 24.
This is because the current Ruler of Pahang, 88-year-old Sultan Ahmad Shah Sultan Abu Bakar, who is also Tengku Abdullah’s father, is in frail health.
Sultan Ahmad Shah had taken over the Pahang throne from his father Sultan Abu Bakar Sultan Abdullah in 1974. He was Agong from 1979 to 1984.
Born in Pekan, Pahang, Tengku Abdullah will be 60 on July 30. He was made crown prince of Pahang in 1975. Four years later, he was made Pahang regent, when his father, Sultan Ahmad Shah was elected Agong.
Tengku Abdullah was made regent again in 2017.
Tengku Abdullah gained prominence in the public eye after he took the helm of the Football Association of Malaysia and his attempts to revive Malaysia’s moribund football team.
Johor and Perak
According to the Agong election process, all nine rulers must either vote “suitable” or “not suitable” for candidate next up in the rotation.
If that candidate among the nine rulers fails to get the necessary five “suitable votes”, the process is restarted with the next candidate in line, which is Johor’s sultan.
Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar of Johor is a year older than Tengku Abdullah, and ascended the throne in 2010, after the death of his father, Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ismail. Sultan Iskandar was Agong from 1984 to 1989.
Compared to the other Malay rulers, Sultan Ibrahim has been the most actively and directly involved in Johor’s political and social landscape.
Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar of Johor has been directly involved in his state’s social and political life. –Facebook pic, January 9, 2019.
He has issued decrees changing the state’s weekend to start on Friday instead of Saturday, and has publicly spoken out on racial issues. In 2015, he told racists to leave his state. In 2017, he ordered a Muslim-only laundromat to change its policies or be shut down.
Some of his decrees have been controversial, such as his plan to lead the state’s new housing board and ordering Johor’s religious authorities to sever ties with the Federal Islamic Affairs Department (Jakim).
Perak’s Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Sultan Azlan Shah is next on the Agong succession list after Johor, and is currently deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong. This post will also be up for election again on January 24.
At 63, Sultan Nazrin is also the oldest among Tengku Abdullah and Sultan Ibrahim.
Sultan Nazrin has been Perak ruler since 2014, after the death of his father, Sultan Azlan Shah Sultan Yussuff, who was Agong from 1989 to 1994.
An avid scholar, Sultan Nazrin is a familiar guest of honour at political and economic symposiums. He holds a Phd and masters degree in politics and economics from Harvard University, in the United States, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Oxford University, UK.
He is currently the Pro-Chancellor of The University of Malaya.
The Malaysian Insight