Page last updated at 11:29 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 12:29 UK

Malaysian sultan 'held in hospital against his will'


Lawyers for an ailing Malaysia sultan say he is being held against his will and have sought a court order to secure his release.

Sultan Tengku Ismail Petra has been under heavy guard in hospital in his home state of Kelantan since Tuesday.

The move is seen as the latest twist in a feud between the sultan's eldest son, the regent, and one of his brothers.

Officials have allegedly blocked an attempt by the younger prince to take the Sultan to Indonesia for treatment.

The lawyers for the sultan have filed an application with a court reserved for members of the royal family.

The court papers allege that the sultan's third son, Tengku Muhammad Fakhry, was travelling with him to the airport on Tuesday - intending to go to Indonesia - but the convoy was stopped by armed men.

The sultan was then taken to hospital in his northern state where his oldest son, regent Tengku Muhammad Faris, ordered increased security measures to be put in place.

"We take the view that the sultan is in hospital under restraint," lawyer Raja Aziz Addruse told reporters.

He said the sultan was "very conscious and lucid" and that the lawyers were acting on the monarch's instructions.

Two other lawyers, Datuk Haaziq Pillay and Gobind Singh Deo, told the Malaysia Star they had not been allowed to meet the ruler.

Security officials have not commented on the application.

Tengku Mohammad Faris became regent in May 2009, after his father fell ill with a heart complaint.

The two sons have been in a dispute since last September, when the regent removed his brother from Kelantan's powerful Council of Succession, the body which determines the next ruler of the state.

Malaysia has nine royal households headed by sultans with largely ceremonial powers.

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