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The King of Malaysia

Ben van Wijnen

"Malaysia has announced that its next and 17th king will be Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar from the southern state of Johor. Sultan Ibrahim was elected by the country's nine sultans on Friday during a session of the Conference of Rulers and will be installed next year on January 31, 2024 for a period of 5 years."



Yang di Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim, Sultan of Johor Darul Ta'zim
and Dennis Verbaas

Yang di Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim, Sultan of Johor Darul Ta'zim. He is the 17th king of Malaysia. Melaka, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak - the states without a sultan - have no significant role in choosing the agong. They do not have a sultan, but a governor. The election of king is only for the sultans. This was decided upon independence in 1957. The official king of Malaysia has the title "the Supreme Ruler" or "Yang di-Pertuan Agong", which is commonly referred to as the king. However, the power lies with it parliament with its prime minister(Prime Minister).

Each sultan is given a ballot paper when elected king and is asked whether they think the next monarch of the rotation system is a suitable or unsuitable choice for agong. If a sultan does not receive at least five votes, or if that person decides he does not want the job as king, the sultans choose the next name on the rotation list. They may also decide that a sultan is not fit to be a ruler for reasons such as poor health.
The Johor royal family dates back to the early 16th century and has its own private army. For many of the country's majority Malays, especially in rural areas, kingship remains a powerful symbol of identity. Sultans are the guardians of Islam in their own states, while the king is also the protector of the religion in states where no hereditary monarch exists. The Malays in Malaysia are always Muslim.


The father-in-law of Dennis Verbaas, a former photo model from Lisse, will become king of Malaysia. Verbaas, who now goes by the name Dennis Muhammad Abdullah, married the daughter of the future king in 2017. The two bumped into each other a few years earlier in a cafe in Kuala Lumpur. Verbaas, son of a flower merchant, worked as a model in that city. He converted to Islam in 2015, at the request of the princess's family. Since then, his legal name has been Dennis Muhammad Abdullah.
The Dutchman now belongs to a very wealthy noble family from Johor, which borders Singapore. That is one of the nine sultanates of Malaysia. The Sultan of Johor and his family enjoy some fame in the Netherlands. In 2017, they made the news when photo model Dennis Verbaas from Lisse married Princess Tunku Tun Aminah Maimunah Iskandaria (Aminah for short), Ibrahim's only daughter.
Dennis, now 34, who adopted the Islamic faith before his marriage, married Aminah, three years his senior, in August 2017. Together they had their first daughter in March 2020: Laila Sofiah. Dennis received a royal honor from his wealthy father-in-law, which means he can now call himself 'dato' - somewhat comparable to the British 'sir'.


Aminah and Dennis with their baby

In Malaysia it is not entirely unusual to be very secretive about pregnancy and the birth of the child. The mother of the born child often stays in the house for forty days and therefore does not leave the house. A ceremony then takes place where people can meet the baby. Although Dennis and his wife have not released any photos of the child, Aminah's sister does post photos on Instagram.
At the royal palace in Johor Bahru, relatives of the couple took turns cutting off a piece of hair from the baby. A baby's first haircut is a festive occasion in Malay culture, where the child is welcomed into the family. The ceremony usually takes place 40 to 44 days after birth.

A part of the Royal Family of the Sultan of Johor


  Ben van Wijnen

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