New King to be elected on January 24

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V inspects the guard of honour at Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur April 24, 2017. ― Bernama pic
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V inspects the guard of honour at Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur April 24, 2017. ― Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — The Council of Rulers will meet on January 24 to elect the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong and his deputy after Sultan Muhammad V made the unprecedented move of resigning as King yesterday mid-term.

In a press statement, Keeper of the Royal Seal Tan Sri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said the Council has also decreed that the swearing-in ceremony for the new Agong and the Deputy will be held on January 31.

“The Rulers attending this meeting has decided to hold a special Council of Rulers meeting on Thursday, January 24, 2019 for the purpose of electing the Yang di-Pertuan Agong XVI and the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“The Rulers have also decided that a Special Meeting for the swearing-in ceremony by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong will be held on Thursday, January 31, 2019,” said Syed Danial after the Rulers met this morning at Istana Negara.

Today’s meeting was attended by Rulers Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin from Terengganu, Perlis’ Raja Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin, Negri Sembilan’s Yang di-Pertuan Besar Tuanku Muhriz, Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim, Perak’s Sultan Nazrin, who is the current Deputy Agong, and Kedah’s Sultan Sallehuddin.

Sultan Ahmad Shah, the Ruler of Pahang, was unable to attend due to health reasons, while Selangor ruler Sultan Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah was out of the country.

Yesterday, Sultan Muhammad V from Kelantan tendered his resignation after ruling as Agong from December 13, 2016.

He had earlier taken two months’ leave due to health reasons from November 1 to December 31, 2018.

A palace official who requested anonymity observed that in the event Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang cannot attend the upcoming meeting, he can choose a proxy as his representative.

"A ruler can appoint a proxy from another full Ruler (among the Council of Rulers) to vote on his behalf," said the official when asked regarding the possibility of an absent vote.

The King is chosen from the nine Malay Rulers based on a rotational system, which means that the Pahang Sultan is next in line and is likely to be up for the election, followed by Johor and Perak.

Only one candidate will be nominated for election by the Conference of Rulers. The Governors of Penang, Melaka, Sabah, and Sarawak cannot participate in the election even though they are members of the Conference.

The nine Malay Rulers will state in their ballot whether the candidate is suitable or not to be the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, upon which he is elected as King after he gets a majority of five votes. The second-most senior ruler will be up for the election instead if the successful nominee declines the position or fails to get at least five votes.