Kelantan palace crisis flares, Regent to be named Sultan

(TMI) Kelantan’s royal succession council is set to proclaim Regent Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra as the state Ruler today using a new law, stoking a constitutional crisis that began after his father fell ill last year.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the announcement will be based on Article 23A of the Kelantan State Constitution (Second Part), gazetted on July 22, 2010, and which covers the removal of the Sultan from his throne due to a major handicap.

The Sultan, Tuanku Ismail Petra Sultan Yahya Petra, suffered a stroke in May 2009 and has remained incapacitated, paving the way for the council to name the 35-year-old prince — the eldest — as regent.

“The Kelantan Council of Succession will deliberate on the medical reports and also observations from some imams that the Sultan cannot perform his royal duties,” a Kelantan palace source told The Malaysian Insider, citing use of the new law.

It is also learnt that two members of the council will not be present at the meeting this morning. They are Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who is an uncle to the Raja Perempuan; and the Sultan’s only princess Tengku Amalin Aishah, an assistant registrar at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

According to the Kelantan state constitution, the council consists of a president, deputy president, state mufti, state secretary, four members of the royal family and six to 12 royal subjects of Malay descent.

Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra

But the Sultan’s lawyers claimed that the new law “may open the Regent to a charge of interference with the course of justice and to contempt proceedings.”

Rashid Zulkifli Advocates & Solicitors stated that the Sultan had presented two petitions to the Federal Court to obtain its opinion on a number of questions, arising from the actions and conduct of (Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra) as the Regent of the State.

“Central to those questions is the determination by the court of the extent of the power of the Regent acting during the incapacity of the Sultan,” the statement read.

“In view of the pending issue before the Federal Court, it seems to us that it is not proper or lawful for the Regent to pre-empt the decision of the court on the pending issues by arrogating to himself the power of the Sultan under Article 3 of the Constitution,” it added.

It is learnt that the proclamation ceremony will take place at the Throne Room of the Istana Balai Besar there, beginning at 11.30am, with state secretary Datuk Mohd Aiseri Alias scheduled to give details at a 2pm press conference in the Istana Negeri, Kubang Kerian.

He is expected to brief the media on the new Article 23A, which was drafted according to Article 3(2) of the Kelantan State Constitution (Second Part) that covers royal succession.

The Kelantan Insider website, which is aligned to the Regent, said Tengku Faris will ensure that the position of the Sultan and his royal consort will be provided for in another provision under the state constitution, to be revealed at the press conference.

The website also confirmed that Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat was unaware of the planned proclamation of a new Sultan as the palace was aware of moves to undermine the event.

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