IPOH: The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, 86, who passed away today, was known as a wise and intelligent figure, and the only ruler who had held the top post as Lord President in the country's judiciary.
Remembered as a stern and firm Lord President (1982-1984) before he became sultan, he was also known as a compassionate, concerned and forgiving ruler.
Sultan Azlan Shah who was born on April 19, 1928 in Kampung Manggis, Batu Gajah, Perak was also known as someone who placed importance on discipline, cleanliness and punctuality.
He was a child of Sultan Yussuf Izzuddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Jalil Shah (reigned 1948-1963) and his commoner wife, Toh Puan Dewangsa Khadijah Ahmad.
Sultan Azlan Shah had his early education at the Batu Gajah Government English School, now known as SMK Sultan Yussuf, and continued his secondary schooling at the prestigious Malay College Kuala Kangsar.
He then studied for his law degree at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom and graduated in 1953, and was admitted to the English Bar by the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn on Nov 23, 1954.
Upon his return to then Malaya, Sultan Azlan Shah began his career in 1954 as Assistant State Secretary of Perak before joining the Malayan judicial and legal service one year later.
In 1956, he was appointed as first class magistrate and then served as Sessions Court president, federal counsel, deputy public prosecutor, state legal adviser of Pahang and later Johor, registrar of the High Court of Malaya and chief registrar of the Federal Court of Malaysia.
In 1965, he became the youngest High Court judge in the Commonwealth at the age of 37. In 1973, he was made a Federal Court judge and in 1979, was appointed as Chief Justice of Malaya.
He reached the pinnacle of his career in the judiciary when he was appointed as the youngest-ever Lord President of the Federal Court of Malaysia on Nov 12, 1982.
He resigned in 1984 after being in the judicial and legal service for 30 years when he was elevated to the Perak royal throne.
The then Raja Azlan Shah was installed as the Raja Muda (Crown Prince) of Perak on July 1, 1983 but within six months on Feb 3, 1984, he succeeded Sultan Idris Shah II following the latter's demise.
On April 26, 1989, Sultan Azlan Shah was installed as the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia. He served the full five-year term and returned as Sultan of Perak in 1994.
He was active in sports in his young days and competed in hockey, football, athletics and cricket, and was later involved in sports bodies. He was the chef de mission of the Malaysian contingent to the Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada in 1976.
The late Perak Sultan was particularly active in hockey where he was president of the Malaysian Hockey Federation until 2005, was once vice-president of the International Hockey Federation and president of the Asian Hockey Federation until his demise.
The Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament, named after him, is an annual hockey tournament held in Ipoh, the Perak capital city.
In the field of education, Sultan Azlan Shah had been the chancellor of Universiti Malaya (UM) since 1986, was pro-chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) from October 1971 until February 1984, and chairman of the Higher Education Advisory Council (November 1974-October 1976).
He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Literature by UM in 1979 and Honorary Doctorate in Law by USM in 1980.
Sultan Azlan Shah was also recognised by several foreign universities including University of Nottingham (Hon. Doctor of Law, 1986), Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok (Hon. Doctor of Law, 1990), Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (Hon. Fellow, 1991) and Royal College of Surgeons of England (Hon. Fellow, 1999).
He was the royal patron of several student, graduate, professional and charitable associations and clubs including the Malaysian Law Society in Great Britain and Eire, British Graduates Association, Academy of Medicine of Malaysia, WWF-Malaysia and Ipoh Royal Club.
Sultan Azlan Shah leaves his consort, Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Bainun, and five children, the Regent of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, the late Raja Ashman Shah, Raja Azureen, Raja Eleena and Raja Yong Sofia.-- BERNAMA