Malaysia state’s new sultan tipped to be country’s next king

In this Jan. 11, 2019, photo, Pahang state Crown Prince Tengku Abdullah arrives for a private event at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur. (AP)
Updated 12 January 2019
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Malaysia state’s new sultan tipped to be country’s next king

  • Sultan Muhammad V suddenly abdicated after just two years on the throne
  • The monarch's role is largely ceremonial, since administrative power is vested in the prime minister and parliament

KUALA LUMPUR: The central Malaysian state of Pahang’s soon-to-be new sultan is tipped to become the country’s next king under a unique rotating monarchy system.
The Conference of Rulers has said it will pick a new king among nine hereditary state rulers on Jan. 24 following the sudden abdication of Sultan Muhammad V after just two years on the throne. No reasons were given for the Jan. 6 abdication, the first in the nation’s history, which came after the 49-year-old Sultan Muhammad V reportedly married a former Russian beauty queen.
Pahang’s 88-year-old Sultan Ahmad Shah is next in line to be king, but he is gravely ill.
Tengku Abdullah, currently the regent of Pahang, will succeed Sultan Ahmad Shah on Tuesday, the Pahang palace announced Saturday.
Pahang royal council member Tengku Abdul Rahman was reported saying that royal family members and the council have agreed that his brother Tengku Abdullah, 59, will ascend the state throne because Sultan Ahmad Shah “can no longer shoulder the duties and responsibilities as ruler.”
Tengku Abdullah, who has been state regent for the past two years due to the sultan’s ill health, is a FIFA council member and president of the Asian Hockey Federation.
If Sultan Ahmad Shah doesn’t abdicate, he is unlikely to be elected king due to his sickness and the position could then go to the wealthy sultan of southern Johor state. The succession issue will not be confirmed before Jan. 24. At least five out of the nine state rulers must support Tengku Abdullah, local media said.
The nine ethnic Malay state rulers take turns serving as Malaysia’s king for five-year terms under the world’s only such system, which has been maintained since the country’s independence from Britain in 1957.
The monarch's role is largely ceremonial, since administrative power is vested in the prime minister and parliament. But the monarch is highly regarded as the supreme upholder of Malay tradition, particularly among the ethnic Malay Muslim majority.


UK firms step up preparations for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit as PM Theresa May meets with EU leaders

Updated 21 March 2019
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UK firms step up preparations for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit as PM Theresa May meets with EU leaders

  • May is meeting EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday in attempt to get support for Brexit delay
  • The Bank of England warned in November that the British economy could shrink by a massive 8 percent

LONDON: UK companies have ratcheted up their preparations for a disorderly “no-deal” Brexit as best they can over the past couple of months, the Bank of England said on Thursday.
With the prospect of a chaotic Brexit potentially eight days away, a survey by the central bank’s agents showed that around 80 percent of companies “judged themselves ready” for such a scenario, in which the country crashes out of the European Union with no deal and no transition to new trading arrangements with the bloc. That’s up from around 50 percent in an equivalent survey in January.
For decades, trading with the rest of the EU has been seamless. A disorderly Brexit could see the return of tariffs and other restrictions on trade with the EU, Britain’s main export destination.
To prepare, some firms have moved jobs and operations to the EU to continue to benefit from its seamless trade. Many have had to learn how to file customs declarations and adjust labels on goods. Exporters of animals are learning about health checks they will need to comply with.
According to the bank’s survey, however, many of those companies preparing for a “no-deal” Brexit said “there were limits to the degree of readiness that was feasible in the face of the range of possible outcomes in that scenario.”
There’s only so much companies can do, for example, to prepare for new tariffs and exchange rate movements.

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Britain appears headed for a “no-deal” Brexit on March 29 if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to win parliamentary support for her withdrawal agreement with the EU.
She is meeting EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday in an attempt to get support for a delay to the country’s departure date to June 30. EU leaders have said a short extension would have to be conditional on her Brexit plan getting parliamentary backing and have indicated they would only be willing to back a delay to May 22, the day before elections to the European Parliament. After two heavy rejections in parliament, there are doubts as to whether she will be able to get parliamentary approval. What would happen next is uncertain.
European leaders, including those from France and Luxembourg, have said any extension will be granted dependent on May's deal passing a third parliamentary vote.
The Bank of England warned in November that the British economy could shrink by a massive 8 percent within months, though Governor Mark Carney has indicated the recession will be less savage, partly because of heightened preparedness.
According to the minutes of the latest meeting of the bank’s nine-member Monetary Policy Committee, at which the main interest rate was kept at 0.75 percent, rate-setters warned “Brexit uncertainties would continue to affect economic activity looking ahead, most notably business investment.”
Brexit uncertainty has dogged the British economy for nearly three years. In 2018, the economy grew by 1.4 percent, its lowest rate since 2012, even during what was then a global upswing. Business investment was down 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter from the year before.
“Business investment had now fallen in each of the past four quarters as uncertainties relating to Brexit had intensified,” the rate-setters said.
The survey showed uncertainty was likely to remain for months, even years, as Britain works out its long-term relationship with the EU. It said around 60 percent of UK firms in February said Brexit was one of their top three uncertainties, compared with 40 percent just after the June 2016 Brexit referendum.
Around 40 percent of firms expect the uncertainty to be resolved only by the end of 2019 and 20 percent anticipate it persisting into 2021 or beyond.