Azlan Shah of Perak

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Azlan Shah
ازلن شاه
Al-Maghfur-Lah (The Forgiven One)
Yang di-Pertuan Agong IX
Sultan in 2008
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Reign26 April 1989 – 25 April 1994
Installation18 September 1989
PredecessorIskandar of Johor
SuccessorJa'afar of Negeri Sembilan
Prime MinisterMahathir Mohamad
Sultan of Perak
Reign3 February 1984 – 28 May 2014
Installation9 December 1985
PredecessorIdris Shah II
SuccessorNazrin Shah
Chief Ministers
Born(1928-04-19)19 April 1928
Kampung Manggis, Batu Gajah, Perak, Federated Malay States, British Malaya
Died28 May 2014(2014-05-28) (aged 86)
National Heart Institute Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Burial29 May 2014
(m. 1955)
IssueRaja Nazrin Shah
Raja Azureen
Raja Ashman Shah
Raja Eleena
Raja Yong Sofia
Raja Azlan Shah ibni Raja Yussuff Shah
Regnal name
Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Yussuff Izzuddin Shah Ghafarullahu-lah
Posthumous name
Almarhum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Maghfur-Lah ibni Almarhum Sultan Yussuff Izzuddin Shah Ghafarullahu-lah
HouseHouse of Siak-Perak
FatherSultan Yussuff Izzuddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Jalil Karamatullah Nasiruddin Mukhtaram Shah Radziallah Hu'an-hu
MotherToh Puan Besar Hatijah binti Toh Indera Wangsa Ahmad
ReligionSunni Islam
Raja Azlan Shah
Lord President of the Supreme Court
In office
12 November 1982 – 2 February 1984
Nominated byMahathir Mohamad
Appointed byAhmad Shah of Pahang
Preceded byMohamed Suffian Mohamed Hashim
Succeeded bySalleh Abas
Personal details
EducationMalay College Kuala Kangsar
Alma materUniversity of Nottingham (LLB)
OccupationLawyer, judge
WebsiteGaleri Sultan Azlan Shah

Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Yussuff Izzuddin Shah Ghafarullahu-lah (Jawi: سلطان ازلن محب الدين شاه ابن المرحوم سلطان يوسف عز الدين شاه غفر ﷲ له; 19 April 1928 – 28 May 2014) was the 34th Sultan of Perak and served as the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia from 26 April 1989 to 25 April 1994. The child of a royal father and commoner mother, he grew up in Perak, Malaysia. During school he played field hockey, subsequently playing for the Perak team. He trained to be a lawyer in the United Kingdom. Upon returning to Malaysia, he soon became a judge and quickly rose through the legal ranks. In 1965, he became the youngest person appointed to the High Court of Malaya, and in 1982 he became the youngest ever Lord President of the Federal Court, the country's highest judicial rank.

He succeeded as the Sultan of Perak after Sultan Idris Shah II, his first cousin once removed, died in 1984. Subsequently, he was elected to be the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia in 1989, serving a five-year term before returning to his post as Sultan of Perak. In 2009, he exercised his royal authority to prevent the dissolution of the Perak State Legislative Assembly, sparking a constitutional crisis. Ultimately, the legal system ruled Sultan Azlan had acted properly.

During his career, Sultan Azlan Shah was awarded more than 3 dozen Malaysian and foreign honours. Dozens of buildings and other projects were named after him, including a genus of insects. He was known as the "Father of Malaysian Hockey" for furthering field hockey at home and abroad, and was the patron of dozens of organisations. With his wife Tuanku Bainun Binti Mohd Ali, Sultan Azlan had five children.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born on 19 April 1928 at Kampung Manggis, Batu Gajah, Perak.[1] The youngest son of Sultan Yussuff Izzuddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Jalil Karamatullah Nasiruddin Mukhtaram Shah Radziallah Hu'an-hu (reigned 1948–1963) by his second wife, Toh Puan Besar Hatijah binti Toh Indera Wangsa Ahmad (1906–1992), he was brought up by his mother outside of royal circles.

Raja Azlan Shah began his education at the Government English School, Batu Gajah Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Yussuf. For his secondary education, he attended Malay College Kuala Kangsar. Afterwards, he went to the University of Nottingham to study law, earning a Bachelor of Law degree in 1953.[2] While in school, Azlan Shah began his lifelong love for field hockey, playing for his school teams. He subsequently played for the Perak team.[3]

Legal career[edit]

Raja Azlan Shah was admitted to the English Bar on 23 November 1954. He returned to Malaysia, becoming the Assistant State Secretary of Perak. He joined the Judicial and Legal Service of the Federation of Malaya and soon became the President of the Sessions Court. He continued to rise quickly through the legal ranks, serving as Federal Counsel and Deputy Public Prosecutor, Legal Adviser of the State of Pahang, Registrar of the High Court of Malaya, and Chief Registrar of the Federal Court of Malaysia.[2]

In 1965, Raja Azlan Shah, aged 37, became the youngest judge ever appointed to the High Court of Malaya. He was appointed to the Federal Court in 1973. In 1979, he was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court of Malaya.[2] Finally, on 12 November 1982 he became the youngest ever Lord President of the Federal Court, the highest judicial post in Malaysia.[1][2]

Becoming Sultan[edit]

His path to become the Sultan of Perak started when his father appointed him as Raja Kechil Bongsu on 19 August 1962, which makes him 6th and last in line to the throne. Due to the death of his father in the following year, he moved up a rank to become the Raja Kechil Tengah. On 1 January 1978, he moved up to Raja Kechil Sulong and later that year, on 1 August, he moved up to Raja Kechil Besar.

Raja Azlan Shah was installed Raja Muda (Crown Prince) of Perak by the then-Sultan of Perak, Sultan Idris Almutawakkil Alallahi Shah II on 1 July 1983.[2] During the long reign of Idris Shah, most of Raja Azlan Shah's elder brothers had died. His only surviving elder brother, Raja Baharom Shah, refused the office of Crown Prince and Raja Azlan Shah was suddenly heir to the throne.

Within six months, Sultan Idris died and Azlan Shah succeeded to the throne of Perak on 3 February 1984. He was officially installed as the 34th Sultan of Perak on 9 December 1985. In 1989, Sultan Azlan Shah was elected as the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, as the Ruler of Perak was the last of the nine Malay Rulers of Malaysia who has not served as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for its first cycle. After the five-year term ended, he returned to his post as Sultan of Perak in 1994.[2]

Sultan Azlan Shah reigned for a total of 30 years and 114 days, the longest reign for a Sultan of Perak post-independence day, and the second longest reign in the history of the Sultanate, only behind the 11th Sultan, Sultan Mahmud Iskandar Shah.

Perak constitutional crisis[edit]

In 2009, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) political group held a narrow majority in the Perak state assembly with 32 of the 59 seats. Three members of the party decided to leave, and allied themselves with the rival BN coalition. PR leader Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin requested to dissolve the state assembly. Sultan Azlan refused the request, citing royal discretion, and instead demanded Mohammad Nizar and the rest of the leadership resign their posts to make way for BN leaders.[4]

The decision was challenged and the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that the Sultan was not constitutionally permitted to dismiss the menteri besar. However, upon appeal, the decision was reversed by the Court of Appeal which rules that the Perak State Constitution gives absolute discretionary power for the Sultan to dissolve the State Legislative Assembly. The Court also directed Nizar to resign. The decision was subsequently upheld unanimously by the five-man Bench of Federal Court in February 2010.[4]


Sultan Azlan was the Pro-Chancellor of the Universiti Sains Malaysia from October 1971 to February 1981 and the Chancellor of the University of Malaya from February 1983 until his death. He also served the Chairman of the Higher Education Advisory Council from 1974 to 1976. The University of Malaya awarded him an honorary doctorate in June 1979 and the University Science of Malaysia awarded him one the following June.[2]

Sultan Azlan was recognised by several foreign universities, including:[2]


Sultan Azlan was an avid supporter of field hockey throughout his life. Due to his significant contributions to the sport, he was known as the "Father of Malaysian Hockey."[3] Azlan was President of the Malaysian Hockey Federation until 2005, and was the elected President of the Asian Hockey Federation from 1997 until his death.[5] He was an Executive Board member of FIH (International Hockey Federation), serving as vice-president for two terms starting in 1992.[6] Under Azlan Shah's leadership, Malaysia twice hosted the World Cup, in 1975 and 2002. In 1983, the sultan founded the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, an annual hockey tournament played in Ipoh.[3]

Sultan Azlan enjoyed golfing in his spare time.[2]


Sultan Azlan was a patron of the following institutions:[2]

  • The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia
  • The British Graduates Association of Malaysia
  • The Iskandar Polo Club
  • The Kuala Kangsar Golf Club
  • The Lions Clubs
  • The Malaysian Law Society in Great Britain and Éire
  • The Malaysian Nature Society
  • The Perak Veteran Hockey Association.
  • The Rotary Clubs
  • The Royal Ipoh Club and The Royal Perak Golf Club
  • St. John Ambulance of Malaysia, State of Perak Darul Ridzuan

Royal family[edit]

Sultan Azlan Shah married Bainun binti Mohd Ali on 9 December 1955. She is styled as Her Royal Highness The Raja Permaisuri (Queen Consort) of Perak, Tuanku Bainun Binti Mohd. Ali, D.K., D.M.N. The couple had five children, two princes and three princesses. The eldest is Raja Nazrin Shah, who is now the current Sultan of Perak. The others are Raja Azureen, Raja Ashman Shah, Raja Eleena and Raja Yong Sofia. Raja Ashman Shah died on 30 March 2012 of asthma attack.[4]


Sultan Azlan Shah died on 28 May 2014 at 1:30 pm at the National Heart Institute, Kuala Lumpur at aged 86. He was posthumously titled as Marhum Al-Maghfur-Lah. He was laid to rest next to grave of the previous ruler, Sultan Idris Shah at the Al-Ghufran Royal Mausoleum at Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar, Perak after Asar prayers on 29 May, and the proclamation of a new Sultan was announced on 29 May.[7] Upon his death, a public holiday was announced in the state of Perak for 29 May so that the population could pay their last respects to him at Kuala Kangsar. Menteri Besar of Perak Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir announced that the Malaysian flag would fly at half-mast for 7 days, and the Perak flag for 100 days. In addition, "all entertainment and celebrations" were cancelled to show respect for the Sultan.[4] He is survived by his wife Tuanku Bainun, and his four children; Raja Nazrin Shah, Raja Dato' Seri Azureen, Raja Dato' Seri Eleena and Raja Dato' Seri Yong Sofia. Their second son, Raja Dato' Seri Ashman Shah predeceased him in 2012 due to asthma attack.[4]


Name Birth Date Birth Place Death Date Death Place Marriage
Spouse Their Children Their Grandchildren
Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah (1956-11-27) 27 November 1956 (age 66) George Town, Penang 17 May 2007 Tuanku Zara Salim Raja Azlan Muzzaffar Shah (Raja Kechil Besar)
Raja Nazira Safya
Raja Dato' Seri Azureen (1957-12-09) 9 December 1957 (age 65) Penang 8 September 1979 Dato' Seri Mohd Salleh Bin Dato' Ismail Abdul Latiff
Abdul Azim
Sharifah Nur Alara
Syed Azlan Salahuddin Putra
Raja Dato' Seri Ashman Shah (1958-12-28)28 December 1958 George Town, Penang 30 March 2012(2012-03-30) (aged 53) No. 25, Jalan Setia Kasih 5, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. 26 September 1991 Dato' Seri Noraini Jane Raja Eminah Alliyah
Raja Ahmad Nazim Azlan Shah (Raja Kechil Sulong)
Raja Bainunisa Safia
Raja Dato' Seri Eleena (1960-04-03) 3 April 1960 (age 63) Penang 14 October 1991 Dato' Seri Ismail Farouk Bin Abdullah Omar Azlan
Alia Azleena
Imran Azlan
Ashman Azlan
Raja Dato' Seri Yong Sofia (1961-06-24) 24 June 1961 (age 62) Penang 5 December 1987 Tunku Dato' Seri Kamel Bin Tunku Rijaludin Tunku Aznal Shahabudin
Tunku Khaira Shahabudin
Tunku Amira Shahabudin
Tunku Maisara Shahabudin


  • Sinnadurai, Visu (1988). "His Majesty Sultan Azlan Shah: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong IX Malaysia". The Supreme Court Reports. Kuala Lumpur: The Supreme Court Journal. ISSN 0128-066X. (Special issue of the Supreme Court Journal to commemorate the installation of His Majesty Sultan Azlan Shah as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong IX Malaysia)


Perak honours[edit]

Malaysian honours[edit]

State honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]


At the 1982 Perak Domestic Tourism Exposition, the orchid that won the best plant award was named after Azlan Shah, "Doritinopsis Sultan Azlan Shah". The insect genus Azlania was named in honour of him by The Malaysia Nature Society.[2]

Several building projects and institutions were named after the Sultan, including:

Educational institutions[edit]




  • Taman Rekreasi Sultan Azlan Shah (formerly Taman Polo), a recreational area in Ipoh
  • Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, an international hockey tournament


  1. ^ a b "Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak dies, aged 86". The Nation. 29 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af "His Royal Highess Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan". Official Website Pejabat D.Y.M.M. Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan. Archived from the original on 18 March 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "Hockey pioneer Sultan Azlan Shah dies aged 86". Firstpost. PTI. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak dies, aged 86". Malay Mail. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Asian Hockey Federation :: About Us". Asiahockey. 1 July 2010. Archived from the original on 17 January 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
  6. ^ "International Hockey Federation : Executive Board". Retrieved 4 December 2010.
  7. ^ "New Sultan of Perak to be proclaimed tomorrow". The Star. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1983" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1987" (PDF).
  10. ^ "彭摄政王表示当局 检讨囘敎行政法案加强州回敎事务工作". Sin Chew Jit Poh. 25 October 1980. p. 6.
  11. ^ a b List of Malay rulers (as of January 2013) with details of orders
  12. ^ "DK I 1985".
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Iskandar of Johor
(Sultan of Johor)
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
(King of Malaysia)

Succeeded by
Tuanku Ja'afar
(Yang di-Pertuan Besar
of Negeri Sembilan)
Preceded by Sultan of Perak
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by Lord President of the Federal Court
Succeeded by