MB proclaims Tengku Faris new Kelantan ruler

By The Malaysian Insider 

KOTA BARU, Sept 13 — Tengku Faris Petra Sultan Ismail Petra was today proclaimed the new Kelantan Sultan by Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, at the Istana Balai Besar at 12.30pm here today.

He will replace his father, Sultan Ismail Petra, who suffered a stroke on May 14, 2009 and has yet to recover.

The announcement was made pursuant to Article 23A of the Kelantan State Constitution — gazetted on July 22, 2010 — which covers the removal of a Sultan from the throne due to a major and serious handicap or illness.

However, 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.

In a separate statement issued yesterday, the Sultan’s eldest sister Tengku Merjan Sultan Yahya Petra said she was saddened by attempts to proclaim a new Sultan, describing it as a sad day for the constitutional monarchy system if the “conspirators” were allowed to succeed in ousting her brother as the legal Ruler of the state.

Tengku Merjan claimed that an application for an Opinion of the Federal Court had been made on whether the Regent of Kelantan had the power to remove members of the Council of Succession appointed earlier by the Sultan of Kelantan.

She said both state and federal authorities should take heed of the seriousness of the matter and take positive steps immediately to prevent the “conspirators” from carrying out their “despicable” act, adding that the matter — if allowed to succeed — would become a dangerous precedent.

State secretary Datuk Mohd Aiseri Alias is scheduled to provide details at 2pm today in a press conference at the Istana Negeri, Kubang Kerian, and 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.