Sultan Ahmad Shah, a ruler well-loved by the people

Sultan Ahmad Shah died at the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur this morning. — Bernama pic
Sultan Ahmad Shah died at the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur this morning. — Bernama pic

KUANTAN, May 22 — Pahang’s Paduka Ayahanda Sultan Ahmad Shah Al Musta’in Billah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar who died at the age of 88 today was a ruler well-loved by the people due to his humble and caring personality.

He reigned as the fifth Sultan of Pahang for almost 45 years before his eldest son Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah was announced as his successor on January 12.

Sultan Ahmad Shah had always been the people’s ruler, often being among the first and ignoring protocol during his visits to the many districts of Pahang, especially during floods, to help and listen to the problems faced his subjects.

He never seemed to be tired of braving floodwaters on boats to assist the affected residents and would always ensure that they were well taken care of, even to the extent of deploying the palace cooks to prepare good meals for flood evacuees at relief centres.

His main concern was the wellbeing of the people in the state, and he had never shied away from voicing out his views when a certain project is deemed to be detrimental to the public.

This was evident when he expressed his anger and sorrow over illegal land clearing for agricultural purposes in Cameron Highlands in November 2014.

Similarly, during the landslide incident at KM52.4 of the East Coast Highway in November 2015, despite his illness, he went down to the ground to observe the situation for himself and directed the relevant bodies to ensure such incidents did not recur.

He was also loved by the media due to his casual nature, and never declined an interview when met during events.

Sultan Ahmad Shah had always upheld the principle of ‘Nothing separates the Ruler and his People’ until his health declined and he appointed Sultan Abdullah as the Regent of Pahang on December 28, 2016.

A hearse carrying Sultan Ahmad Shah’s body is escorted by police outriders as it leaves the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur May 22, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A hearse carrying Sultan Ahmad Shah’s body is escorted by police outriders as it leaves the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur May 22, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

Born at Istana Mangga Tunggal in Pekan on October 24, 1930, Sultan Ahmad Shah was the third child and only son of Sultan Abu Bakar and his consort Raja Ampuan Fatimah Sultan Iskandar Shah.

He was appointed Tengku Mahkota (Crown Prince) Pahang in 1944, when he was just 14 years old.

Sultan Ahmad Shah received his early education at the Malay School in Pekan and continued his secondary education at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar in Perak.

Although his studies were disrupted due to the Second World War, he took the opportunity to learn Japanese during the occupation of the Japanese army in Malaya. When the war ended, he continued his studies at the Clifford School in Kuala Lipis and lived with other students at the school’s hostel.

In 1948, Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah pursued higher education in public administration at Worcester College, Oxford University and Exeter University, Devon in the United Kingdom. He underwent practical training at the Sidmouth Urban District Council for three years.

Sultan Ahmad Shah married Tengku Hajah Afzan Tengku Muhammad on April 22, 1954, and was blessed with seven children, two princes and five princesses.

Their princes and princesses were Tengku Tan Sri Meriam, Tengku Datuk Seri Muhaini, Tengku Datuk Seri Aishah Marcella, Tengku Abdullah, Tengku Abdul Rahman, Tengku Datuk Nong Fatimah and Tengku Datuk Shahariah.

After Tengku Afzan’s death on June 29, 1988, Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah married Sultanah Hajah Kalsom on March 14, 1991, and was blessed with another son Tengku Fahd Mu’adzam Shah.

At the age of 35, he served as the chief of staff of the Federal Army’s Infantry Battalion based at Batu 5 Camp, Mentakab Pahang.

Sultan Ahmad Shah was proclaimed as the fifth Sultan of Pahang on May 7, 1974, following the death of his father, Sultan Abu Bakar and the coronation ceremony was held at the Throne Room, Istana Abu Bakar Pekan on May 8, 1975.

He was then appointed as Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong and ascended the federal throne as the seventh Yang di-Pertuan Agong from April 26, 1979, to April 25, 1984.

Other posts he held were the constitutional head of the International Islamic University (IIUM) since July 1, 1983, the president of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) from 1984 to 2014, the president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) from 1994 to 2002 and was elected as the president of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) in 2011. — Bernama

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