MALAYSIA welcomes a new King at the helm every five years in accordance with its unique rotational basis of its monarchy institution.
This special system was suggested by Almarhu Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong; an idea borrowed from Negri Sembilan, where the nine region chiefs take turns to be the Yang di-Pertuan Besar. The nine members of the Conference of Rulers select the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or Supreme Ruler, of the country.
The nine are hereditary Malay rulers from the states of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Perlis, Perak, Selangor and Terengganu.
Although the members of the Conference of Rulers include the four Yang di-Pertua Negeri or governors from the states of Sarawak, Sabah, Malacca and Penang, only the royal rulers are allowed to vote or stand for election as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The reign of Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah, 88, as Agong ended yesterday.
Tuanku Abdul Halim made history as the only Sultan who has been King twice.
He is succeeded by Sultan of Kelantan Tuanku Muhammad Faris Petra ibni Sultan Ismail Petra, or Sultan Muhammad V, who ascends the throne today.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is elected through a secret ballot and the nominee must obtain a majority of five votes to be declared as the new King.
According to the custom, the most senior Ruler is elected as Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
However, this is no longer followed as all nine Rulers have had their turns to be elected.
After the reign of the Sultan of Perak as the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Reconstituted List was drawn up and based on the order of the first to the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and subsequent Kings are to be elected according to this order.
The new Yang di-Pertuan Agong will appoint a Regent to take over his duties in his home state for the duration of his five-year term. A Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong is also elected at the same time to stand in whenever the King is away or unable to rule.
Cambodia and Vatican City are the only two other countries that practise the “true elective monarchy” system in the world, while in most countries, the monarchy is hereditary.
In Cambodia, candidates of royal blood are chosen to be King for a life term by its Royal Council of the Throne, while in Vatican City, the College of Cardinals elect the Pope.
In Malaysia’s constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy system, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong appears as the formal head of the executive branch.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong appoints the Chief Justice, Court of Appeal president, Chief Judge of Malaya, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Federal Court, Court of Appeal and High Court judges.
As the fountain of Justice, he has the powers to appoint judges, who administer the laws, grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect of all offences which have been tried by court-martial and all offences in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan.
Besides being the Armed Forces Supreme Commander, the King is also the Head of Islamic Affairs for his own state as well as states that do not have a Ruler, namely Malacca, Penang, Federal Territories, Sabah and Sarawak.