Yang di-Pertuan Agong

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong also known as the King, is the constitutional monarch and head of state of Malaysia. The office was established in 1957, when the Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia) gained independence from the United Kingdom. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is elected by the Conference of Rulers, comprising the nine rulers of the Malay states and the governors or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of the other four states, with the office de facto rotated between them, making Malaysia one of the world’s few elective monarchies.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s queen consort is known as the Raja Permaisuri Agong.

Constitutional Role

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s role is that of a constitutional monarch. The Constitution of Malaysia and Acts of Parliament made in accordance with it define the extent of his powers as the head of state. These are divided into two categories: powers exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister, another Minister, the Cabinet, the Conference of Rulers, or some other officer or institution, and discretionary powers.

The Constitution vests the executive power of the federal government in the monarch. However, with few exceptions, he is bound to exercise this power on the advice of the Cabinet or a minister acting under the Cabinet’s general authority. Thus, in practice, most of the actual day-to-day work of governing is performed by the Cabinet.

Head of Islam

In addition, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the Head of Islam in the four states ruled by appointed Governors, in the three Federal Territories, as well as in his own state (Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur). In this role, he is advised by the State Islamic Affairs Council in each of the States.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong appoints the chairman and members of each council. He also appoints the State Mufti in each of these states. There is a single Islamic Affairs Council with jurisdiction for the three Federal Territories. This council is also appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.


In accordance with Article 41 of the Constitution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is Commander-in-Chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces. As such, he is the highest-ranking officer in the military chain of command.

As the Supreme Commander of the Malaysian Armed Forces, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong appoints the Chief of Defence Forces, on the advice of the Armed Forces Council. He also appoints the service heads of each of the three branches of the military forces.


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