The legacy of Sultan Ahmad Shah ― a people’s sultan

Sultan Ahmad Shah, 88, died at the National Heart Institute (IJN) Kuala Lumpur at 8.50am yesterday. — Bernama pic
Sultan Ahmad Shah, 88, died at the National Heart Institute (IJN) Kuala Lumpur at 8.50am yesterday. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 ― The death of the King’s father, former Sultan of Pahang and well-loved Ruler, Paduka Ayahanda Sultan Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah at the National Heart Institute (IJN) here this morning, has left a significant mark on the people, especially the people of Pahang who regarded him as a people’s Sultan.

His approachable,endearing nature and friendly disposition often shone through at functions and significant events such as during the the Cameron Highlands landslide tragedy. 

Even when the Ruler was under the weather, he never failed to pay visits to flood victims at relief centres.

He was so concerned about the issues that sparked the tragedy in the highlands in 2014 that he urged that illegal farming there be stopped to prevent the popular tourist destination from being destroyed by irresponsible parties.

Seeing the damage done as a result of mud floods, he was quoted as saying: “Illegal farming has been in existence since the British (colonial) times. It’s an infectious disease. They cannot go on doing this. We must put an end (to illegal farming). The illegal farmers are responsible for doing this continuously they are to blame.”

The concerned Ruler also urged other agencies to help combat the issue.

“I urge the Federal Government to help, particularly states with so many illegal farmers like those in Cameron Highlands because it (Cameron Highlands) is a tourist destination.

On the issue of ‘Palace intervention’ to allow development and farming, he had said,”Please check with the State Government first. Don’t make baseless allegations. If I ever found out whoever played the name-dropping game, I would give him what he thoroughly deserved!”       

Known for his humble nature and often addressing himself as “saya’ (I) when speaking, he once told his subjects: “Whatever it may be that my people are going through, God willing if I am well, I will be there for you.” He said this to some flood victims in 2009.

At that time, the Sultan said he was still fit and healthy and therefore was able to get down to the ground to be with the people and share their sorrows.

“I’m here if anything were to happen. You all know me .even though I am pretty old, I am still active,” he said.

Sultan Ahmad Shah, who was also the constitutional head of the International Islamic University (IIUM) since 1983, also had a message for the University’s students on human resource capital and unity.

“By developing human resource capabilities in terms of technical and conceptual skills, organisations and countries as a whole can form a viable high-performing community, “ he said at the IIUM Special Convocation on February 14, 2011.

“You are the real proponents of unity, honour, stability, peace and prosperity through your determination and patience to do the best for the nation, the ummah (the Muslim community) and the world, in general,” he said.

He said that IIUM needed to create a flow of dynamic minds to acquire knowledge towards a higher level of excellence.

 “The transformation brought by the Malaysian Government is in line with the dynamic changes in the world landscape and IIUM must be at the forefront of the race or accept the consequences to be irrelevant,” he said at the 27th convocation of UIAM, October 2010.

Sultan Ahmad Shah, who had held the post of Football President of Malaysia (FAM), casually responded with “best man wins” when he was asked to comment on the three-cornered fight ahead of the 50th FAM Congress on May 25, 2014.

Sultan Ahmad Shah said at that time that he did not mind being challenged for a post he had held for 30 years, but considered it a healthy competition.

“I as President, Tengku Adullah (his son) the deputy president and Tengku Mahkota Johor (Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim), are contesting for the post. We need to be prepared for anything,” he said.

He, however, withdrew from defending his office. When making the announcement, he attributed the reason for doing so to age and wanted to give way to a new line of leadership to lead the body.

“The desire and spirit to continue is still there, but football needs a new breath of fresh air.

“For this reason I decided to withdraw from contesting the presidency today,” he said.

“I would like to remind all players to be mindful of themselves when they are there (Phuket) either on or off the field.

“I do not want to hear of any untoward incidents. FAM officers must monitor,” he said when he met 22 players who were leaving for Phuket for a tournament.

As a show of appreciation for his dedication and contribution as FAM President for over two decades, Sultan Ahmad Ahmad Shah was named as the recipient of the Sports Hero Award at the National Sports Awards 2017 (ASN 2017).

His contribution since helming the association in 1984 was undeniable after the success of the national squad to achieve  79th ranking in the world in 1993, the country's best achievement.

Sultan Ahmad Shah also received the “Fifa Order of Merit” award for a lifetime contribution in the football arena in 2012. ― Bernama

Related Articles