KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Two Malaysian princes reached an out-of-court settlement Wednesday to end a spat over who had the right to use a Bentley luxury car owned by their father, a lawyer said.
The dispute between the sons of Sultan Tengku Ismail Petra has embarrassed the royal household of Malaysia's eastern Kelantan state and aggravated a recent power struggle among palace figures while the sultan was stricken by a heart-related illness.
Tengku Muhammad Fakhry Petra, the sultan's third son, filed a lawsuit against his eldest brother, Tengku Muhammad Faris, in September to seek a court declaration that he had the right to use a Bentley Brooklands car worth 1.6 million ringgit ($480,000).
Fakhry alleged he had paid for the car in 2008 for his own and his father's use, even though the sultan was registered as the official owner. In July, representatives of Faris took away the car while Fakhry was abroad and refused to return it to him.
Fakhry's lawyer, Haaziq Pillay, told the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Wednesday that Fakhry was withdrawing his suit on the wishes of his father, who will determine who gets to use the car.
Haaziq said Fakhry managed to use the car recently and has no objections if his brother also wants to use it.
Faris did not explain why he seized the car, but insisted in a court statement earlier this year that Fakhry's lawsuit was "frivolous."
Kelantan's royal household is one of nine in various states in Malaysia, where hereditary royal rulers are widely respected among the Muslim Malay majority. However, their responsibilities are largely ceremonial, and executive power to rule lies with elected state and national representatives.
Sultan Ismail's illness over the past year has resulted in a tussle between his sons and their allies for influence over palace decisions and, potentially, succession to the throne. The feud spilled into the public eye, offering a rare glimpse into the lives of royal households that generally enjoy immense privacy and privilege.