‘Conference of Rulers upheld continuity’

  • Nation
  • Friday, 25 Jan 2019

PETALING JAYA: The election process leading to the appointment of the Sultan of Pahang as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong showed the ability of the Conference of Rulers to continue the tradition of certainty, say constitution experts.

Constitution expert Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari said the swift voting process conducted by the Malay Rulers proved that the main concern of the Conference of Rulers was stability.

“Stability here means there is certainty on the person to hold office next. There is no suspense.

“That is what certainty is about despite all the speculation to the contrary, which means the Conference was firm and holding to practice and tradition,” said Prof Abdul Aziz.

He said the Rulers clearly know what their functions are, and as the monarchy has an important role to ensure stability in the nation, they would not want to go down a path which could cause the monarchy to lose its shine.

“Had the monarchy chosen to take a different route (by not keeping to the rotation), this could compromise the stability of the institution of the monarchy,” said Prof Abdul Aziz.

He was commenting on the appointment of the Sultan of Pahang Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah as the 16th King yesterday at a special meeting of the Conference of Rulers at Istana Negara.

The Constitution states that the one to be King must get at least five votes from the Malay Rulers.

Should the five votes not be achieved, it is left to the discretion of the Malay Rulers to find a way to reach a solution.

Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said the election rules pertaining to the appointment of the King are complex.

“There are a number of competing and clashing considerations in Articles 32, 33 and the Third and Fifth Schedules (in the Constitution).

“The existence of competing rules gives to the Conference of Rulers wide discretion to anoint any Ruler they like other than the one who last occupied the Federal throne,” said Prof Shad.

“I am happy that the system works peacefully and efficiently. No judicial review is likely as the matter is unfit for judicial determination.”

Academician Dr Mohammad Shamsuddin, an expert on Malay customs from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said while the whole process of electing the new King seemed without a fuss, one will never know what happened in the Conference of Rulers as the voting process was held behind closed doors away from public scrutiny.

“The voting is all done in secret, it is difficult to tell (if there was no fuss).

“Secondly, the Constitution dictates every­thing about the appointment of the King in Article 32.

“The whole process depends on the votes by the Malay Rulers,” said Dr Mohammad.

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