PETALING JAYA: It is entirely up to the Conference of Rulers to decide when the Rulers want to appoint the new King upon the death, resignation or dismissal of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, said constitutional law experts.
Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said this is because the Malaysian Constitution does not stipulate a time period between the vacancy and the ascension of the King.
He also said this is one of the situations in which the Conference of Rulers can decide fully where the Constitution is silent.
“There is always a gap between the death or resignation of the monarch and the ascent of the new monarch.
“We are unlike the United Kingdom which does not have a deputy monarch in the absence of the Queen. Our Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong can perform all the functions and duties of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“There are no exemptions to what he cannot do as the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” said Prof Shad.
Another constitutional law expert Prof Dr Aziz Bari cautioned that taking too much time to decide on the next King may not be advisable as the King is the repository power of authority.
He said the unprecedented resignation of Sultan Muhammad V (pic) as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong is to be treated in the same as when a King dies in office.
“At the moment, the first round of the fixed line-up of succession has been completed and the post of the King should be offered to Pahang,” he said, adding that if the Sultan of Pahang declines the offer, the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal will offer the post to the next in line, the Sultan of Johor.
“However, as the Sultan of Pahang is currently unwell and the Regent of Pahang has yet to be the Sultan, the Conference of Rulers can extend a period of time to allow for the Regent to be installed as the Sultan before he accepts to be installed as King,” said Prof Aziz.
Prof Shad said although the rotation system is put in place to allow every state to get its turn, there are situations where the Conference of Rulers can exercise its discretion and change the line of rotation.
These are if the Ruler is a minor, the Ruler himself declines or if the Ruler is deemed unfit for the post.
He also said that the Constitution allows the Rulers to break away from the tradition of rotation if they want to appoint a King based on seniority or if there is a change in the throne at the state level.
Prof Aziz said should there be a Ruler other than the next in line intending to take up the position, he can nominate himself and does not need a seconder.
“They will then discuss among themselves and cast a secret ballot,” he added.
He pointed out that breaking away from tradition would however have to be done very carefully by the Rulers as the monarchy is deemed the most stable institution in the country.
“It is important for the Conference of Rulers not to depart from the succession plan following the line of rotation as the monarchy is seen as a symbol of stability. This is what places us above a republic,” said Prof Aziz.
The Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal has announced that the Rulers decided to choose the 16th King on Jan 24 and the swearing-in a week later.