Court dismisses review application on rightful ruler of Terengganu

Tengku Sulaiman Tengku Abdul Halim with lawyer Kong Yit Har.

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court today dismissed a review application by the grandson of Tengku Ali Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Sulaiman on who the rightful ruler of Terengganu is.

A three-member bench chaired by Chief Judge of Malaya Azahar Mohamed said the panel which refused a leave to appeal application on Nov 24, 2017 had made a unanimous decision.

“The applicant’s (Tengku Sulaiman Tengku Abdul Halim) review application on constitutional grounds was also an afterthought.

“It should have been raised at an opportune time when the issue (the appointment of then-chief justice Raus Sharif) was still in the public domain,” he added.

The bench also ordered Tengku Sulaiman to pay RM50,000 each to the Terengganu government and the state royal council or Dewan Pangkuan Diraja Terengganu.

Tengku Sulaiman, represented by Kong Yit Har, told reporters he respected today’s verdict.

Lawyer Cecil Abraham represented Tengku Muhammad Ismail ibni Al-Wathiqu Billah Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, Isa @ Ghazali Endut, Tengku Ibrahim Tengku Hussain, Syed Omar Abdul Kadir Al-Idrus and Shaikh Harun Shaikh Ismail, who are members of the council.

Terengganu state legal adviser Razali Che Ani appeared for the state government.

Tengku Sulaiman filed the review on grounds that the three members of the bench chaired by Raus had not consulted each other before dismissing his leave application.

The second ground for review was that Raus, who remained in office after his mandatory retirement age of 66 years plus six months, was in breach of Article 122 (1A) of the Federal Constitution.

Raus had declared that Tengku Sulaiman, 63, could not bring the succession issue to court again as the matter had been decided.

Tengku Sulaiman had filed for a declaration that he is the rightful hereditary ruler of Terengganu.

On July 21, 2017, a three-man Court of Appeal panel led by Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim upheld the decision of the Terengganu High Court a year earlier to strike out the suit.

Tengku Sulaiman in his statement of claim said on Sept 26, 1942, his grandfather Tengku Ali was installed as sultan of Terengganu following the death of his father, Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Zainal Abidin III.

He said Tengku Ali was subsequently removed from the throne on November 5, 1945 by the Jemaah Pangkuan Negeri Terengganu (now known as Dewan Pangkuan Diraja Terengganu), and Tengku Ali’s uncle Tengku Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Zainal Abidin III was installed as sultan of Terengganu.

Tengku Ali’s eldest son, Tengku Abdul Halim, was 11 years old at the time and should have replaced his father as sultan of Terengganu, claimed Tengku Sulaiman.

He argued that as Tengku Abdul Halim’s son and the eldest grandson of Tengku Ali, he had the right to claim the Terengganu throne.