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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

How do Nine Malaysian Rulers Share One Throne? - ExpatGoMalaysia.com

How do Nine Malaysian Rulers Share One Throne? - ExpatGoMalaysia.com:



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Written by Whey Qi Teo

Photo credit: Bertrand Duperrin / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
How do 9 Malaysian rulers share one throne? They do, so, surprisingly civilly. Unlike the bloody Wars of the Roses fought over the English throne, the Malaysian monarchs are perfectly willing to take turns on the seat of power.

Malaysia is currently one of the only true elective monarchies in the world. Every five years, a secret ballot is conducted to decide the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong, a process that only the royals may vote and be elected in.

Establishment of the Supreme Head of State / Yang di-Pertuan Agong

Photo credit: Bertrand Duperrin / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
The post of Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or the Supreme Head of State, was established in 1957 when the Federation of Malaya (Malaysia) gained its independence from the United Kingdom. The post of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is chosen based on seniority and the position is rotated amongst the state Rulers.

You might wonder why there are only nine rulers involved in the election process and not thirteen — one Ruler to represent each state in Malaysia. Four states; Penang, Malacca, Sabah and Sarawak and the 3 federal territories, do not have hereditary royal rulers, so they can’t supply a prospective Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Bar Council Constitutional Law Committee chairman, Syahredzan Johan states that: “The rotation system was formulated based on the internal policies and understanding within the Conference of Rulers.”

The cycle of seniority is as follows:
  • Yang di-Pertuan Besar (of Negeri Sembilan)
  • Sultan of Selangor
  • Raja of Perlis
  • Sultan of Terengganu
  • Sultan of Kedah
  • Sultan of Kelantan
  • Sultan of Pahang
  • Sultan of Johor
  • Sultan of Perak.
Choosing the next head of state also involves a particular method, much like there is when electing the new Pope.

Process of Election
  • The nine hereditary rulers from the Malay states gather as the Conference of Rulers (Majlis Raja-raja) at Istana Melawati.
  • The Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal (Penyimpan Mohor Besar Raja-raja) will give out the ballot for a single candidate; the Rulers will decide whether the candidate is suitable for the post of Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
  • The ballot papers are then counted by the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal and the junior-most Ruler (who cannot be a nominee for the post of Yang di-Pertuan Agong). A majority of five votes must be achieved for the post to be offered by the presiding Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
  • If the required majority votes are not met, or the post is declined, the Conference repeats the process, with the second most senior Ruler.
  • To complete the process, the Ruler must accept the position, and the Conference formally declares the Ruler as Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
  • When the result of the election is announced, the ballot papers are then destroyed.


Contrast with Hereditary Monarchy

Commonly, when people say hereditary monarchy, they think of the rulers in European countries, such as: England, France, the Netherlands, Scotland and so on. It is true that most, if not all European countries, have hereditary monarchies, but in the modern day, some have been eliminated.

A hereditary monarchy refers to a system of monarchy where the crown is passed down from one member of the royal family to the next, down the line of succession. The English crown is a well-known example of a hereditary monarchy. Its current Queen, Elizabeth II, is the constitutional monarch of 16 of 53 member states in the Commonwealth of Nations.

However, the elective monarchy differs where the line of succession is concerned. There is no line of succession. In Malaysia, the ‘King’ changes every five years, and there are nine eligible monarchs to take the throne, but only if they are elected and deemed suitable by the Conference of Rulers.

So What Does the Yang di-Pertuan do?

As Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, and not an absolute monarchy, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong isn’t at liberty to do anything he pleases, but he still holds extensive power as the Supreme Head of State.

There are two main categories to the Agong’s powers — the powers that he exercises under the advisement of the Prime Minister, or any other officer or institution, and the power that he exercises at his own discretion. Among these powers, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is able to choose who to appoint as Prime Minister, a prominent figure in charge of running the government and heading the Cabinet.

The official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is Istana Negara (National Palace) located in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur. The new palace was completed in 2011. The old palace is due to be renovated into a royal museum.

Istana Melawati (Melawati Palace), is another royal residence, situated in Putrajaya. The palace is also where the Conference of Rulers is held, to elect the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The current Yang di-Pertuan Agong is Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah, the 14th Head of State. The current Yang di-Pertuan Agong is Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah, the 14th Head of State. Sultan Abdul Halim was also the fifth Yang di-Pertuan Agong between 1970 and 1975. He is the first in Malaysia to hold the position twice.

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I have traveled far and wide and lived in South Africa, the UK and Malaysia. 

I am a technical person that never forgets anything. Recalling it at the right time though is a struggle.

I have always worked with IBM technologies and worked for them for many years. I now do my best to migrate people away from IBM technologies.

  

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