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Sultan's offspring sue to keep palace

South China Morning Post September 21, 1999

THREE descendants of Singapore's last sultan, who died in 1835, are suing the government over plans to move his offspring out of their palace and turn it into a Malay heritage centre.

Tengku Muzaffarshah, 25, Tengku Mohamed Damaishah, 28, and Tengku Ahmad Rosdi, 28, said yesterday that they filed suit on Friday against the government of Singapore for violating the rights of the descendants of Sultan Hussein. Tengku means "prince" or "princess" in Malay.

For months, about 200 descendants of Sultan Hussein have been split over the future of a neglected one-storey palace built 160 years ago in the centre of Singapore. Istana, as the palace is called in Malay, still houses most of the sultan's offspring.

The Singapore government decided in March to turn the palace into a heritage centre for the Malay community.

In return, its residents are to receive a total of S$350,000 a year for the next 30 years.

The three princes have invoked an old document guaranteeing the rights of the sultan's descendants.

Published in the South China Morning Post. September 21, 1999.

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