Agong or Agung
The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong or Agung is appointed once in every five years from a pool of nine Sultans who head the nine states in Malaysia.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong
The election of Yang Di-Pertuan Agong
The appointment is systematic and each of the nine Sultans has the opportunity to ascend the throne of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong based on his turn in the cycle. In the event of any of the circumstances below, a sultan will not automatically be elected as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong even thought it may be his turn in the cycle:
- If he is a minor
- If he has expressed his desire not to ascend the throne
- If he is ailing in mind and body and has been found to be unfit in any way to lead the country as the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong
When the office is not occupied, the Conference of Rulers meets to elect a Sultan to fill the vacancy. The first ruler who obtains not less than 5 votes from the members in the Conference is then elected and shall hold office for a term of five years.
The Role and Privileges of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong
As mentioned earlier, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong or Agung is the supreme head of state in Malaysia and he acts on the advice of the Parliament and the Prime Minister, who heads the Cabinet. However, the appointment of the prime minister, the requisition of a meeting for the conference of rulers concerning the privileges and status of sultan and also the dissolution of Parliament (even against the advice of the Prime Minister) are all on his own discretion.
In matters pertaining to Parliament, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is given the right to appoint senators on the advice of the Prime Minister. All acts that have been passed by the two main houses of Parliament have to be scrutinized by him before being made into laws.
As the head of the Judicial Authority, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong has the legal right to appoint the Chief Justice, Federal and High Court judges based on the guidelines stipulated in the Federal Constitution and acting on the advice of the Prime Minister. He is also given the privilege of pardoning wrongdoers and civil offences committed in the Federal Territories of Malaysia, and override sentences passed out by the Military Court. He is the highest commander of armed forces in the country.
In states that do not have a Sultan as their head, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is the head of religion and thus, has the power to pardon offences and override sentences passed out by the Syariah Courts in these states. The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong also has the highest honour and is given the privilege of conferring awards, orders of chivalry and other honours.
See Istana Negara for interesting story on the King's Palace
See Yang di-Pertuan Agung for a list of past and present Kings of Malaysia and their consorts
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