By FMT staff
KOTA BARU: A popular blogger, with strong ties to the Kelantan administration, claims that behind-the-scenes efforts are being made to crown a new sultan, in view of fears over the health of Sultan Ismail Petra.
The blogger Sheih Kickdefella claimed that he received an audio recording of a meeting between journalists and two individuals 'Halim Ahmad' and 'Shukri Mohamed' said to be involved with the palace.
Kickdefella, who hails from Kelantan, said a senior journalist in Kota Bharu present at the meeting later told him that 'Halim' is the palace comptroller and 'Shukri' is a member of the council of succession.
They discussed a possible abdication of the sultan and spoke about constitutional changes needed to be made.
He said the meeting took place several nights ago; on numerous occassions, the person identified as Halim stressed that it was not a press conference, and therefore he should not be quoted.
The recording, he added, also contained a lengthy explanation of about two hours regarding the ailing health of Tuanku Ismail Petra and the need for the crown prince Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra to be made the next ruler.
However, the blogger added that nobody is certain if the duo were speaking in their official capacity, on their own initiative or upon the instructions of someone higher up.
'Amend the constitution'
Among others, Kickdefella claimed that Shukri said he could determine when an acting ruler takes the throne. “Even tomorrow,” he was quoted as saying.
“According to Shukri, what can be done to get the Sultan to abdicate the throne is to amend the state constitution. Call for a state assembly meeting, and with the strength of 39 PAS assemblymen as opposed to six from Barisan Nasional, a two-thirds vote for the amendment of the constitution can be obtained anytime. So even tomorrow, the crown prince can become the sultan,” he said.
Despite this, the blogger added that Shukri plans to be patient for 12 months before acting. “This is because there is some gray areas in the state constitution with regards to the inability of a sultan to carry out his duties based on health reasons.”
He said Shukri explained that only if the sultan leaves the palace on his own accord for 12 months, can the seat be declared vacant.
“In the case of Kelantan, the sultan did not leave on his own accord, he was ill,” Shukri had purportedly told the journalists during the meeting.
The Kelantan sultan had just returned to the state after undergoing treatment in Singapore for nine months.
The blogger said Shukri claimed that he had met the attorney-general, solicitor-general and Federal Court judges several times for 'discussions' during the nine months that the sultan was hospitalised.
Shukri said that the council of succession will meet only after the 12-month period to determine the future of the Kelantan sultanate.
Crown prince growing impatient
Meanwhile, the blogger said that Shukri also conceded that the crown prince had complained to him about not being able to rule, but was advised to be patient and not to appear as power-crazy.
Shukri was appointed as a member of the succession council by the crown price after he, in the capacity of acting ruler, dropped four members, including his brother Tengku Temenggong Tengku Muhammad Fakhry, from the council.
On March 13, Tengku Muhammad Faris issued a statement reiterating that he was the ruler until his father has recovered.
“Until the complete recovery of the Sultan of Kelantan from his present incapacitation, the acting sultan will continue attending to the affairs of the State,” stated the statement.
He added that his younger brother Tengku Muhammad Fakhry has no authority to act on behalf of the sultan.
He also said that the statements issued by his brother, which were reported primarily in a Malay daily, were unilateral statements made without the the acting sultan’s consent.
“The Kelantan royal palace declines to make any comment in so far as the dispute between the Tengku Temenggong on the issues pertaining to the state government and matters about the revocation of his membership in the council of succession,” he added.
In a related development, the Kelantan state administrative officers association (PPTN) today pledged its support for Tengku Muhammad Faris as the rightful ruler.
According to a report in Harakah, the association's president Shafei Ismail said the PPTN's stand is in line with state constitution.
On the same note, Shafei said PPTN also pledges its undividing loyalty to the sultan.