KUALA LUMPUR: The Malay Rulers have arrived at a decision – on Jan 24, they will hold a special meeting to choose the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong and on Jan 31, they will reconvene to decide on the date for oath-taking ceremony.
The two dates were agreed upon by the six Malay Rulers at a special meeting yesterday, convened to accept the resignation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.
At the same meeting, the Rulers also agreed that Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah would continue as the deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong until the next King and his deputy are elected by the Conference of Rulers.
Sultan Muhammad V stepped down on Sunday in an unprecedented move.
The King, who started his reign on Dec 13, 2016, resigned from his post in line with Article 32(3) of the Federal Constitution.
The Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal Tan Sri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said that the Special Meeting of Rulers was attended by six Rulers.
“The meeting was held at Istana Negara and was attended by the Rulers from Terengganu, Perlis, Negri Sembilan, Johor, Perak and Kedah.
“The Sultan of Pahang did not attend because he was unwell and the Sultan of Selangor is currently overseas.
“The Rulers accept and respect the decision of Sultan Muhammad V to resign as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong and express their utmost appreciation to his service, which was conducted with full trust and responsibility.
“The Rulers also decided that they will hold a special meeting of the Conference of Rulers on Jan 24 to choose the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the deputy.
“The Rulers further decided that a special meeting will be held on Jan 31 for the purpose of setting the oath-taking ceremony by the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong and his deputy,” Syed Danial said in a press statement.
When contacted, Member of Dewan Negara Perak (the Advisory Council to the Ruler) Datuk Seri Annuar Zaini said that until a new King had been appointed, the deputy would exercise the functions and have the privileges of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong during the vacancy. This, he added, was according to Article 33(1).
The post of the deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong does not automatically place him as the next in line of succession.
“He will perform all his duties from the Istana Negara but will not be residing there,” said Annuar.
As Sultan Nazrin had only attended the departure ceremony seven days ago after performing the duties as the deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong in the absence of the King, Sultan Nazrin is said to have declined any ceremony during the meeting.
The Sultan of Perak decided to continue carrying out his duties after merely signing the solemnisation as required by the laws.
After the Sultan of Kelantan, the next in line in the rotation of the nine Malay Rulers are the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan of Johor and Sultan of Perak, successively.
Constitutional law expert Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said that there was no period of time stipulated in the Constitution within which the Rulers had to appoint a new King after the death or resignation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
He pointed out that after the death of the sixth Yang di-Pertuan Agong from Kelantan in 1979, it was almost a month before the Sultan of Pahang ascended the throne.
“We have a deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong and therefore the death or resignation of the King does not affect the administration of the country as the deputy can perform all the duties of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in his absence,” said Shad Saleem.