PETALING JAYA: Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, who at 47 is the youngest of the Malay Rulers, will be the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The British-educated Sultan of Kelantan will be the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong since Malaysia’s independence.
Sultan Muhammad was selected on the final day of the three-day sitting of the Conference of Rulers amid the grand setting of the Istana Negara. The Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said the ascension will be effective on Dec 13 for the next five years.
Sultan Muhammad succeeds the 88-year-old Kedah Ruler, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, whose five-year reign as King officially ends on Dec 12.
In a surprising turn of events, Perak Ruler Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, 59, was selected as the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong. It had been widely expected that the Pahang Ruler Sultan Ahmad Shah, who was next in line for the post of Deputy King, would be selected.
Sultan Ahmad, who turns 86, later this month, was seen being driven in a yellow buggy inside the Palace to attend the meeting on the first day of the sitting.
This the first time that both the newly selected King and Deputy King are a generation younger than most of the other Rulers.
Sultan Muhammad was the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong before his elevation to the throne.
He was addressed as Tuanku Muhammad Faris Petra before he took the official title of Sultan Muhammad V, in line with the title of Sultan Muhammad used by his ancestors.
He is the firstborn of three sons and a daughter by Sultan Ismail Petra Ibni Almarhum Sultan Yahya Petra and Tengku Anis Tengku Abdul Hamid.
He was only 42, when he was proclaimed Ruler of Kelantan in September 2010, succeeding his father who is incapacitated after suffering a stroke.
Sultan Muhammad would be the second Kelantan ruler to ascend to the throne.
The late Sultan Yahya Petra Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim Petra and grandfather of Sultan Muhammad, was the sixth King from 1975 to 1979.
Sultan Muhammad was known as Malaysia’s “last bachelor crown prince” when he married Tengku Zubaidah Tengku Norudin from Pattani, Thailand, in a glittering wedding in 2004. However, the marriage ended in divorce.
The tall and distinguished-looking Sultan Nazrin is an accomplished royal and a PhD-holder who graduated from Oxford University and Harvard University.
He is married to Tuanku Zara Salim and they have two children.
The chairman of this year’s Conference of Rulers was the Sultan of Johor but the Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail, chaired the final day’s special meeting to select the King and Deputy King.
The special election meeting yesterday was attended by only the Rulers.
The Governors of Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak, who are also members of the Conference of Rulers, were not present because they do not take part in the election of the King or Deputy King.
Voting is usually done via a secret ballot handed out by the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal during the special election meeting.
A majority of five votes is required before the chairman presiding over the meeting offers the office of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to the nominee.
The momentous meeting ended on a sentimental note with the nine Rulers posing for pictures with the outgoing Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdul Halim standing in the central place of honour.
The royals then posed for a seated photograph with the Raja of Perlis in the centre and flanked by the other Rulers.