KUALA LUMPUR - The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah, died on Wednesday, state Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir announced in a live broadcast on national television. The sultan turned 86 last month.
Zambry announced a public holiday for Perak on Thursday (today) to enable visitors to pay their last respects to the monarch, who will be lying in state at the palace in Kuala Kangsar before being laid to rest at the Royal Mausoleum in Kuala Kangsar.
He also ordered the state flag to be lowered to half mast for the next 100 days while the national flag is to be at half mast for seven days. “For one week, all entertainment and celebrations are cancelled,” Zambry said, as a sign of respect and to mourn the sultan’s death.
Sultan Azlan Shah was the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia and served the full five-year term and before returning as Sultan of Perak in 1994. Born Raja Azlan Shah, he had trained as a lawyer and was appointed Lord President of the Federal Court of Malaysia, the youngest to serve in the highest judicial position, in 1982.
He was at the centre of a controversy in 2009 for his role in removing Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as mentri besar.
The silver state fell into a constitutional crisis when three assemblymen quit the PR pact, citing discontent with the loose pact which lead the 59-seat legislative assembly with 32 representatives.
The trio declared themselves independent representatives but pledged loyalty to the BN coalition.
Sultan Azlan refused Mohammad Nizar’s request to dissolve the state legislative assembly, citing his royal discretion under the Perak Constitution.
The sultan said he was satisfied that Mohammad Nizar no longer commanded the support of the majority in the legislative assembly.
He then instructed Mohammad Nizar and his state executive council to resign to make way for BN’s Zambry to take over.
The High Court ruled the sultan had acted beyond his constitutional powers in sacking Mohammad Nizar, saying a vote of no-confidence should have been taken against the mentri besar in the state lawmaking house.
But the Court of Appeal later reversed the High Court ruling, declaring the sultan had the royal prerogative to decide on who was to be appointed mentri besar.
Sultan Azlan is survived by his consort Tuanku Bainun Mohd Ali and four children: Raja Nazrin Shah, currently the Raja Muda of Perak; Raja Datuk Seri Azureen Shah; Raja Eleena; and Raja Yong Sofia.