|Rotation system an intricate matter|
|Friday, 13 April 2012 08:21am|
©The Star (Used by permission)
by WANI MUTHIAH
THE rotation system that determines who among the nine Malay Rulers succeeds as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is an intricate matter handled by the Conference of Rulers.
The Rulers decide this by themselves as it not stipulated by the Federal Constitution.
It was the Conference of Rulers which appointed Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong after he rose to the top of the rotation list again. Tuanku Abdul Halim had served as the fifth Yang di-Pertuan Agong from Sept 21, 1970 to Sept 20, 1975.
Bar Council Constitutional Law Committee chairman Syahredzan Johan explained that although it was up to the Rulers to decide on whom they wanted to elect as King, the selection was actually done by way of rotation in accordance with the stipulated order of names on the royal appointment list.
He said the Federal Constitution made no mention on the way the King was to be appointed, other than stating that he was to be chosen by his fellow Rulers.
The list, Syahredzan said, was initiated after Malaysia had gained Independence in 1957.
The Malay Rulers came to a consensus to nominate one member within their circle to become King once every five years.
“The rotation system was formulated based on the internal policies and understanding within the Conference of Rulers,'' he added.
Syahredzan pointed out that the Conference of Rulers, or Majlis Raja-Raja, was provided for under Article 38 of the Federal Constitution to create a platform for the Sultans and Yang Di-Pertua Negris to meet and confer.
The first round of rotation was completed with the appointment of the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, as the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong from 1989 to 1994.
The second round came into effect with the appointment of Negri Sembilan Ruler Almarhum Tuanku Ja'afar, whose father Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman was the country's first Yang di-Pertuan, as the 10th King in 1994.
Constitutional expert Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said when the first rotation list was drawn up after 1957, the first name in the order was decided based upon the seniority of tenure as Sultan.
“But at that time, the most eligible and senior candidates had turned down the offer to become the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. So, the position was offered to the next most senior and eligible candidate,'' he said.
Apparently, when the first list was formulated, both the then Sultans of Johor and Pahang, who were the first- and second-most senior Rulers in terms of tenure, had declined the appointment.
The position was then offered to the next most senior and eligible candidate, which was Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman who served as Yang di-Pertuan Agong until 1960.
Prof Shad Saleem and Syahredzan explained that once a Ruler had either been appointed as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or declined the post, his name would go down to the bottom of the list.
Under Article 32 of the Federal Constitution, the Malay Rulers could also remove a sitting Yang di-Pertuan Agong from office.
There is also no prohibition against a Ruler from becoming King twice, as shown in the case of Tuanku Abdul Halim's second ascension to the throne.
Prof Shad Saleem said Tuanku Abdul Halim's appointment as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was reflective of the natural progression of the rotation system.
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