On 26 April 1994, in an elaborate ceremony at the Istana Negara, Tuanku Simon Mackay was appointed as Malaysia’s 10th Yang DiPertuan Agong.


How could a Mat Salleh, a white man, be appointed as Malaysia’s King?

As you’ve already suspected, this never happened.

But, this Merdeka week, I thought it could easily have.

If Vyner Brooke, the 3rd Rajah of Sarawak didn’t abdicate in 1946, he would have continued on as Rajah.

Vyner Brooke, 3rd Rajah of Sarawak
Vyner Brooke, 3rd Rajah of Sarawak

When he died in May 1963, his grandson, Simon Mackay, then only 29, would then have become the 4th Rajah of Sarawak. When Malaysia was formed four months later, he would no doubt have joined the list of nine rulers eligible, in turns, to become the Yang DiPertuan Agong.

Since he was the most junior of the rulers, only becoming Rajah very recently, his position would be at the end of the list after all the other rulers. This means that in 1994, after all the rulers of all the other states have had their turn as Malaysia’s king, the Rajah, then aged 60, would then become the 10th Yang DiPertuan Agong!

Simon Mackay, 10th Yang DiPertuan Agong?
Simon Mackay, 10th Yang DiPertuan Agong?

Other than not being a Malay, the other interesting thing is that the Agong is not a muslim. There is nothing though in the Constitution of Malaysia that states that the Agong has to to a muslim. It does, however, declare that the ruler of a state is the head of Islam in his state. I am sure that an exception would be made for Sarawak for otherwise Sarawak would not have joined Malaysia. Or, it is also possible, that the Rajah might have converted to Islam.

So, that’s why, we could easily have had an orang puteh Yang DiPertuan Agong.

But back to real history.

The man who could have been our 10th Yang DiPertuan Agong, Simon Brooke Mackay, is currently a member of the British House of Lords. His title is Baron Tanlaw. You can find out more about him in Wikipedia.

The family still has strong links to Malaysia.

Isn’t our history, and it’s possibilities, interesting?