Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu

Al-Wathiqu Billah Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah (Jawi: سلطان ميزان زين العابدين ابن المرحوم سلطان محمود المكتفي بالله شاه; born 22 January 1962) is the 18th and current Sultan of Terengganu. He served as the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the constitutional monarch of Malaysia, from 2006 to 2011. He is Malay by ethnicity and an adherent of Sunni Islam.

Mizan Zainal Abidin
Al-Wathiqu Billah (He who trusts God)
Yang di-Pertuan Agong XIII
Sultan of Terengganu
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Reign13 December 2006 – 12 December 2011
Installation26 April 2007
PredecessorSirajuddin of Perlis
SuccessorAbdul Halim of Kedah
Prime Ministers
Regency8 October 2001 – 12 December 2001
PredecessorSalahuddin of Selangor
SuccessorSirajuddin of Perlis
Prime MinistersMahathir Mohamad
Sultan of Terengganu
Reign15 May 1998 – present
Coronation4 March 1999
Chief Ministers
Born (1962-01-22) 22 January 1962
Istana Al-Muktafi, Kuala Terengganu, Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia)
Tengku Nadhirah Zaharah
Tengku Muhammad Ismail
Tengku Muhammad Mua′az
Tengku Fatimatuz Zahra
Full name
Tengku Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Tengku Mahmud
Regnal name
Al-Wathiqu Billah Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah
HouseBendahara dynasty
FatherSultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah
MotherTengku Besar Terengganu Dato' Seri Sharifah Nong Fatimah binti Syed Abdullah Al Saggof
ReligionSunni Islam
Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu
Medal record
Representing  Malaysia
SEA Games
2017 Kuala LumpurIndividual endurance
2017 Kuala LumpurTeam endurance

Early life and education

Mizan Zainal Abidin was born at Istana Maziah in Kuala Terengganu, the eldest son of Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah by his second wife, Sharifa Nong Fatima Alsaggof. Sharifa's family is of Arab descent, from Sayidd Omar Aljunied (her maternal great-grandfather), one of the modern pioneers of Singapore.[1]

Mizan Zainal Abidin studied at Sekolah Kebangsaan Sultan Sulaiman and Sekolah Menengah Sultan Sulaiman, Kuala Terengganu. He went overseas to study at the Geelong Grammar School in Geelong, Australia. In 1988, he completed his undergraduate studies at US International University-Europe (now called Alliant International University) in London, earning a B.A. in International Relations.

Mizan Zainal Abidin participated in the military course PRE SMC (E) 33 at the Army School of Languages from 1982 to 1983. He then studied the military course SMC 33 at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England, successfully completing the course as Cadet Officer on 9 December 1983.

Career before becoming Sultan

On 15 September 1981, Tuanku Mizan was appointed as Assistant Land Levy Collector, working for a period of about a year at the District Land Office in Kuala Terengganu, prior to his departure overseas to attend the military course in England. Tuanku Mizan's next appointment in 1988 was as State Administrative Officer at the State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN) in Wisma Darul Iman, Kuala Terengganu. Besides working for UPEN, Tuanku Mizan was also Assistant District Land Officer at the Kuala Terengganu District Land Office.


Mizan was appointed the Yang di-Pertuan Muda of the State of Terengganu on 6 November 1979. On 20 October 1990, he was appointed the Acting Sultan of Terengganu to 8 November 1990.

From 1991 to 1995, Mizan was President of the Council for Islam and Malay Culture of Terengganu.

Mizan became the youngest ruler of a Malaysian federal state when he was appointed as the Sultan of Terengganu on 15 May 1998 following the death of his father, Sultan Mahmud. Mizan was crowned as the 17th Sultan of Terengganu on 4 March 1999.

2008 Menteri Besar Appointment Crisis

The state of Terengganu, where Barisan Nasional won two-thirds of the seats in the state parliament, was the last to appoint a Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) after the 2008 general elections. In the formation of the new Terengganu state government, the federal government under Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi recommended Idris Jusoh as Menteri Besar, who received full support of 23 of the 24 Barisan Nasional state assemblymen elected.[2] However, on 22 March, the office of the Sultan of Terengganu announced the appointment of Kijal assemblyman Ahmad Said instead of Idris Jusoh,[3] as was the Sultan's constitutional right.

The Prime Minister claimed that the appointment of Ahmad Said was unconstitutional as it went against the wishes of the assemblymen and the Prime Minister's office, all of whom had supported Idris Jusoh's candidacy for Menteri Besar.[4]

On 26 March, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin met at Istana Negara to resolve the impasse. The Prime Minister accepted the King's appointment of Ahmad Said as Menteri Besar of Terengganu. He also apologised to the King for the public spat over the appointment of the Menteri Besar, explaining that there was no intention to disparage or humiliate the royal household. This apparent climbdown was due to the possibility that the royal household would be prepared to dissolve the state assembly if there had been a motion of no-confidence against Ahmad Said by the 23 UMNO state assemblymen.[5]

Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong

Mizan was appointed Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong on 26 April 1999 after Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, the Sultan of Selangor was elected the 11th Yang di-Pertuan Agong by the Conference of Rulers. Following the illness and subsequently death of Salahuddin, Mizan served as Acting YDPA from 8 October to 12 December 2001.

Mizan was re-appointed Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong on 13 December 2001 after the Conference of Rulers elected Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin as the 12th YDPA.

Mizan served as the first Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) from 2001 to 2006.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong

On 3 November 2006, Mizan was elected by the Conference of Rulers to become the 13th YDPA, with his five-year term starting 13 December 2006. The Conference of Rulers appointed Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah as the Deputy YDPA. Mizan's appointment was the fourth following a second rotation system amongst the nine Malay Rulers. This five-year rotational constitutional monarchy is unique to Malaysia.

On 26 April 2007, Mizan was formally installed as Yang di-Pertuan Agong.[6][7]

Mizan, 44, is the third youngest YDPA after Tuanku Syed Putra of Perlis and Tuanku Abdul Halim of Kedah who were elected at age 40 and 43 respectively. He is also the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong born after Hari Merdeka (Malaysian Independence Day), which fell on 31 August 1957.

Marriage and family

Mizan married Sultanah Nur Zahirah on 28 March 1996 in Kuala Terengganu. She is the only second Raja Permaisuri Agong (Queen of Malaysia) to habitually wear the hijab (ritual Islamic headscarf for women), and the third to have been born a commoner.

The royal couple has two sons and two daughters: Tengku Nadhirah Zaharah, the Tengku Puteri Utama Raja (b. 18 December 1996), Tengku Muhammad Ismail, the Yang di-Pertuan Muda (b. 1 March 1998), Tengku Muhammad Mua′az, the Tengku Sri Setia Mahkota Raja (b. 22 December 2000), Tengku Fatimatuz Zahra, the Tengku Puteri Daulath Raja (b. 19 April 2002) .

After Sultan Mizan was elected as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, he appointed Tengku Muhammad Ismail, then aged eight, as Regent on 12 November 2006.[8] Because of Tengku Muhammad Ismail's young age, a three-member Regency Advisory Council was established to discharge his duties for him. The council's members were Tengku Baderulzaman, Sultan Mizan's younger brother, Tengku Sulaiman Ismail, Sultan Mizan's uncle, and former Federal Court judge Dato' Abdul Kadir Sulaiman. He was proclaimed as regent during a ceremony on 12 December.[9]

Upon reaching Mukallaf (13 years of age), the Islamic age of responsibility, and according to Syariah law and the constitution of Terengganu, Tuanku Muhammad Ismail became able to discharge his duties himself. However, the Sultan formed another council, Majlis Perwakilan Pemangku Raja, to perform the Regent’s duty while he was away from Terengganu pursuing his studies. This second and current council is headed by Tengku Mustafa Kamel, another of Sultan Mizan’s younger brothers, together with former Regency Advisory Council members Tengku Sri Laksamana Raja Tengku Sulaiman Ismail and Dato' Haji Abdul Kadir Sulaiman.

During his younger days, Sultan Mizan was a keen footballer. He is currently active in golf, endurance riding and scuba diving. In addition, the Global Taekwondo Federation GTF) awarded Mizan an Honorary 7th Degree Black Belt in recognition of his active participation in the sport.

Titles and styles

Styles of
Mizan Zainal Abidin
Reference styleHis Royal Highness
Spoken styleYour Royal Highness
Alternative styleTuanku
  • 22 January 1962 - 21 September 1979: His Highness (Yang Amat Mulia) Tengku Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Tengku Mahmud.
  • 21 September 1979 – 6 November 1979: His Highness (Yang Amat Mulia) Tengku Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah.
  • 6 November 1979 - 15 May 1998: His Royal Highness (Duli Yang Teramat Mulia) Tengku Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, The Yang di-Pertuan Muda of Terengganu.
  • 15 May 1998 - 8 October 2001: His Royal Highness (Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia) Al-Wathiqu Billah Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, The Sultan of Terengganu.
  • 8 October 2001 - 12 December 2001: His Royal Highness (Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia) Al-Wathiqu Billah Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, The Sultan of Terengganu, Acting Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
  • 12 December 2001 - 13 December 2006: His Royal Highness (Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia) Al-Wathiqu Billah Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, The Sultan of Terengganu.
  • 13 December 2006 - 12 December 2011: His Majesty (Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda) Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, The Yang di-Pertuan Agong XIII.
  • 12 December 2011 - Present: His Royal Highness (Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia) Al-Wathiqu Billah Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, The Sultan of Terengganu.

Mizan held the rank of Marshal of the Royal Malaysian Air Force in his full constitutional duties as Commander-in-Chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces as well as the ranks of Field Marshal of the Malaysian Army and Admiral of the Fleet of the Royal Malaysian Navy during his tenure as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, thus becoming the fourth monarch and the second by a Malaysian ex-alumnus of RMA Sandhurst (although did not became an officer) to rise from the ranks.

Officially, Mizan's full style and title after 12 December 2011 is Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Al-Wathiqu Billah Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah or translated into English as

His Royal Highness Al-Wathiqu Billah Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah.

He is the Malaysian Royal Armoured Corps' current Colonel-in-Chief, and also of the Kor Ordnans DiRaja (Royal Ordnance Corps), both of the Malaysian Army, as all his predecessors have been.


See also : List of honours of the Terengganu Royal Family by country

He has been awarded the following honours:[10]

Honours of Terengganu

Honours of Malaysia

Foreign Honours


Several projects and institutions were named after the Sultan, including:

Educational institutions

  • Institut Pendidikan Guru, Kampus Sultan Mizan in Besut
  • Politeknik Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin in Dungun
  • SMK Tengku Mizan Zainal Abidin in Kuala Terengganu

Buildings, Bridges and Roads


  • Yayasan DiRaja Sultan Mizan (YDSM) or Sultan Mizan Royal Foundation



  1. Al-Mahjar Archived 3 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "23 Terengganu Assemblymen Pledge Support For Idris Jusoh". Bernama.
  3. "Malaysia: The MB For Terengganu Finally Appointed". Sin Chew.
  4. "Terengganu MB Appointment Unconstitutional, Says Abdullah". Bernama.
  5. "Ahmad Said stays Mentri Besar". Malaysia Insider. 26 March 2008. Archived from the original on 29 March 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  6. Associated Press, "Malaysia's 16th king formally installed in tradition-steeped ceremony", International Herald Tribune, 26 April 2007.
  7. "Malaysia's new king takes office", BBC, 26 April 2007, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
  8. Ng, Eileen (4 June 2011). "People's welfare comes first". New Straits Times. p. 1.
  9. "Sultan Mizan moved to tears at ceremony". The Star. 13 December 2006. Archived from the original on 27 January 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  10. Royal Ark, TERENGGANU 13
  11. "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 2007" (PDF).
  12. "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang, dan Pingat Persekutuan".
  13. List of Malay rulers (as of January 2013) with details of orders
Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu
Bendahara Dynasty
Born: 1962
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Sultan of Terengganu
Heir apparent:
Muhammad Ismail
Preceded by
Regent of Malaysia
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia
Succeeded by
Abdul Halim
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