Meeting that could herald new era for Pahang and nation

Tengku Abdullah and Sultan Ahmad Shah

He wore a serious look as he chaired an FA of Malaysia meeting more than a decade ago.

Just as the meeting ended, Sultan Ahmad Shah quickly left the main table to greet members of the Press.

As he exchanged pleasantries with those present, he turned towards me, poked my abdomen and said: “You, you always below the belt huh. But don’t worry, I’ll never get angry with you” before he burst out laughing.

When the Pahang ruler left office, his son Tengku Abdullah Shah took over.

And he was just like his father – firm yet accommodating. It was never personal, no matter how harsh the criticisms were.

Officials within the fraternity still speak fondly of both father and son.

Now, the father and son combination takes centre stage again – this time regarding the Pahang throne.

On Friday afternoon, the Pahang Royal Council is expected to make an announcement in Kuala Lumpur after their meeting – one that could see a new era in the state.

As revealed by Twentywo13 on Jan 7, efforts are under way to make Tengku Abdullah, the Regent of Pahang, the next Sultan as his 88-year-old father is said to be unwell.

The proclamation and installation, expected to happen “within days”, comes at a time when the nation is without a King.

Sultan Muhammad V, had on Jan 6, stepped down as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The Kelantan ruler did not give any reason why he did so.

Following the rotation system, the next in line for the throne is Sultan Pahang, followed by Sultan Johor and Sultan Perak.

Many had earlier anticipated either Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of Johor or Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak would be the next King. The Malay rulers are expected to meet and decide on the next King on Jan 24.

But with the likelihood of Tengku Abdullah being proclaimed Sultan, and adhering to the rotation system, the Pahang royal could sit on the throne come Jan 31. It is learnt Tengku Abdullah has received the backing of “several Sultans”.

It has, without doubt, been a nerve-wracking period for Tengku Abdullah – the nation’s longest serving Crown Prince – and his family.

The family was inundated with messages and calls when word broke out on Monday on the possibility of Tengku Abdullah becoming Sultan Pahang. He even cut short his trip in London and returned on Jan 9.

One thing for sure, the royal institution remains a talking point.

Three people have been arrested for allegedly insulting Sultan Muhammad V on social media after he abdicated while the foreign press is having a field day with their saucy pieces.

Some may disagree, but the royal institution has played a vital role in shaping the nation.

While the debate continues, in the next few hours it will be made known if Pahang will have a new Sultan who could possibly be named Malaysia’s new King.