MALAYA: The Sultans Select

Amid the minarets and arabesques of the busy capital of Kuala Lumpur (pop. 300,000), a solemn convocation of sultans and state chieftains gathered last week. Their job: to elect the one of their number who for five years will be His Majesty the Paramount Ruler of the Independent State of Malaya (at a salary of $60,000 a year plus perquisites) when the new Commonwealth nation comes into being at the end of this month.

The sultans decided to choose among themselves by considering each in the order of his precedence, and crossing out the words "suitable" or "unsuitable." Their most senior,...

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