Firmly in his corner during the closed discussions to elect the successor to Tuanku Jaafar were at least two of the four Undangs — the territorial chiefs from Sungai Ujong, Johol, Jelebu and Tampin. They came into the meeting with only one name in mind and refused to budge when it was suggested that they consider Tunku Naquiyuddin Tuanku Jaafar as the next head of the royal household. The decision was deadlocked from Sunday night and a resolution was found only yesterday afternoon.
Sources told The Malaysian Insider that Tuanku Muhriz has built strong ties with the undangs since moving back to the state a few years ago. He also had powerful backers within the political establishment in the state, with former Negri Menteri Besar Tan Sri Isa Samad among his supporters.
There has been a quiet campaign by his backers at state and federal level to portray him forward as a well-educated man; someone who put aside the disappointment of not being appointed Ruler of the state in 1967 when his father died and led a dignified and respectable life.
Tuanku Muhriz was passed over when Tuanku Munawir Tuanku Abdul Rahman died as he was deemed to be too young. His supporters said that in contrast to members of Tuanku Jaafar's family, Tuanku Muhriz shuns publicity like the plague and seems more rooted in traditional ways.
Born on Jan 14, 1948, Tuanku Muhriz received his early education at Sekolah Menengah King George V in Seremban and continued at the Aldenhem School in Britain.
Tuanku Muhriz obtained his LLB from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, Britain. He is married to Tengku Datuk Aishah Rohani Tengku Besar Mahmud of Terengganu and they have three children, Tunku Ali Redhauddin Muhriz, 31, Tunku Zain Al-'Abidin Muhriz, 26, and Tunku Alif Hussein Saifuddin Al-Amin, 23.
Tuanku Jaafar's family are said to be devastated with the decision of the Undangs to select Tuanku Muhriz over Tunku Naquiyuddin. They too had several powerful politicians in their corner but the territorial chiefs were not willing to be swayed.