Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Yang di-Pertuan Agong, a Malay title usually translated as "Supreme Head", "Supreme Ruler" or "Paramount Ruler", is the official title of the head of state of Malaysia. The position is often glossed as King in English. Since 1993, the full title in Malay has been, Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Prior to that the prefix Ke Bawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia was also used.
Since Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, the role of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is largely ceremonial. The constitution specifies that executive power, theoretically vested in the head of state, is exercised by (or on the advice of) the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister.
The 12th and current Yang di-Pertuan Agong is Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Almarhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail, the Raja of Perlis.
In a feature unique to the Malaysian monarchy, the position is rotated every five years between the nine Rulers of the Malay states. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is elected by and from among the nine Rulers, who form the Council of Rulers. The selection of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong initially followed an order based on the seniority (calculated by length of reign) of each Ruler drawn up at Independence in 1957. The original order has at times been varied by the Council of Rulers, which can vote to disqualify a candidate. Minors are automatically disqualified.
On taking office as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Ruler appoints a Regent for that state, usually, but not always, a close relative.
The Council of Rulers (in Malay, Majlis Raja-raja) has met regularly since 1895. The members of the council include the non-Royal Governors or Yang di-Pertua Negeri, but only royal Rulers are allowed to vote and stand for election as Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong's role is that of constitutional monarch, and as such his actual power is very limited. He is required by the Federal Constitution to act upon the advice of the Prime Minister or the Cabinet.
Nonetheless as Head of State, he has the formal responsibilities usual in the Westminster system of constitutional government. In addition, the Constitution makes him the Head of Islam in the four states ruled by appointed Governors. He is also responsible for the Agong's honours list.
In August 1957, having rejected the suggested title of Yang di-Pertuan Besar in favour of Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Council of Rulers met to vote the first occupant of the throne. By seniority, Major-General Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar (Sultan of Johor), having succeeded as sultan in 1895, was the most senior, but he declined election due to old age (he was then 84).
The next in line, Sultan Abu Bakar Riayatuddin Al-Muadzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdullah Al-Mutassim Billah Shah (Sultan of Pahang), who succeeded in 1932, did not get sufficient votes from his brother rulers to be elected. The next most senior ruler, Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad of Negeri Sembilan, having succeeded to his state throne in 1933, was accordingly elected.
Those present at the first election were:
Order of states
After the first cycle of nine Yang di-Pertuan Agong (1957-1994), the order among the state Rulers has followed the order established by that cycle, namely:
The following rulers have served as Yang di-Pertuan Agong previously: