THE Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah became the King for a second time during his reign as Kedah Sultan by virtue of the rotation system. Under this system, the royal designate to fill in the position is determined by the Conference of Rulers.
The appointment of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is wholly decided by the country’s Rulers, and it is not stipulated by the Federal Constitution.
Bar Council Constitutional Law Committee chairman Syahredzan Johansaid the Federal Constitution’s only mention of the appointment of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was that he must be chosen by his brother Rulers.
“The rotation system was formulated based on the internal policies and understanding within the Conference of Rulers,” he said during the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s installation.
It was the Conference of Rulers that appointed Tuanku Abdul Halim as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong after he rose to the top of the rotation list again.
Tuanku Abdul Halim had served as the fifth Yang di-Pertuan Agong from Sept 21, 1970, to Sept 20, 1975.
Syahredzan has been quoted as saying the selection was done in accordance with the stipulated order of names on the royal appointment list.
The Conference of Rulers, or Majlis Raja-Raja, was provided for under Article 38 of the Federal Constitution to create a platform for the Sultans and Yang Di-Pertua Negris to meet, confer and come to a consensus to select one of their peers to become King once every five years.
The first round of rotation since the system was initiated after independence was completed with the appointment of the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, as the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong from 1989 to 1994.
The second round of the rotation system began with the appointment of Negri Sembilan Ruler Almarhum Tuanku Ja’afar, whose father Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman, was the country’s first Yang di-Pertuan, as the 10th King in 1994.
Constitutional expert Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi has been quoted explaining that when the list was first drawn up after independence in 1957, the first name on the list was based on the seniority of his tenure as his state’s Ruler.
“But at that time, the most eligible and senior candidates had turned down the offer to become the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. So, the position was offered to the next most senior and eligible candidate,” Dr Shad Saleem said.
When the list was first drawn-up, the then Sultan of Johor and Sultan of Pahang, who were the first and second most senior Rulers in terms of tenure, respectively, had declined the appointment.
By virtue of this, the next senior Ruler, Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman – Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan – was appointed and served as Yang di-Pertuan Agong until 1960.
When a Ruler has been appointed as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or has declined the appointment, his name will go to the bottom of the list.
The Malay rulers have the authority to remove a sitting Yang di-Pertuan Agong under Article 32 of the Federal Constitution.