KUALA LUMPUR - Whether or not the Regent of Pahang will ascend the state throne - and hence become Malaysia's new king - will only be known on Saturday (Jan 12) but all signs point to it being a done deal.
At the end of a meeting of the Pahang royal council on Friday, purportedly to discuss the succession, chants of Daulat Tuanku (Long live the King) were heard three times from the Kuala Lumpur hotel room where the meeting took place, The Star reported on Saturday.
It said when journalists asked the 59-year-old Regent, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, if he would ascend the throne, Tengku Abdullah merely said: "Oh no, you must take one thing at a time."
However, when a reporter wished Tengku Abdullah "congratulations", the Regent politely said: "Thank you."
Tengku Abdullah and those present at the meeting then posed for a photo. His wife, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Iskandar, looked emotional and wiped her eyes a few times, reported The Star.
She also hugged her in-laws who are part of the council.
Former Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was also present at the meeting. He is one of four Orang Besar Berempat (four major chiefs) of the Council. He left before the photo session.
Pahang state secretary Sallehuddin Ishak told reporters after the four-hour meeting that "any decision" reached on Friday will be announced at 3pm on Saturday.
Pahang's current ruler is Sultan Ahmad Shah, 88, who is reported to be unwell.
There has been speculation that Sultan Ahmad could abdicate to make way for his son, Tengku Abdullah, to become the next Pahang ruler. This in turn could position Tengku Abdullah as the next Malaysian king as the ruler from the Pahang house is next in line for the constitutional throne, based on a unique rotation system among Malaysia's nine Malay royal houses.
Kelantan's Sultan Muhammad V last Sunday abdicated after just two years - three years short of the five-year reign for the king.
If Pahang declines to take up the throne, the next in line is the ruler of Johor state, followed by Perak.
Malaysia's Conference of Rulers - comprising the nine state sultans and four governors of states with no royal families (Penang, Melaka, Sabah, Sarawak) - will hold a special meeting on Jan 24 to elect the next king.
The Keeper of the Ruler's Seal at the national palace, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, has said that the next Malaysian king will take his oath of office on Jan 31.