exclusive She was born out of wedlock to a Malaysian ruler and a Filipino nurse. Her attempts to reconcile with her father were spurned when the on-going negotiations for a settlement hit a brick wall at the end of last year.
Carla Brizuela Shah, 19, was the product of an alleged forced liaison between Dina Brizuela Cooper and Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang. Dina claimed that she was coerced into several sexual encounters with the sultan when he was the seventh Agong from 1979 to 1984.
According to Dina, she became pregnant as a result of the affair and was abandoned by the sultan.
Accepting responsibility for fathering Carla, the sultan had sought to negotiate with Dina since 1997 for a settlement amounting to RM10 million.
The negotiations lasted four years and ended in failure late last year, resulting in the two parties parting in acrimonious circumstances. Dina then resorted to the power of the Internet to highlight her story to the public.
When malaysiakini contacted Dina and Carla for an interview, the news website was told that Carla was reluctant to be interviewed "as she is still very hurt by what has happened with her father", and that she wanted to concentrate on her college studies.
Dina told malaysiakini that Carla just wanted to be acknowledged as the sultan's daughter.
"It is unfair to her to be treated as an outcast. She just wants to visit her father and get to know her half-brothers and -sisters," said Dina.
Speaking on behalf of Carla, Dina said that her daughter, through the negotiation, had wanted to develop a relationship with her father and share some of her life with him.
"She wanted to have the ability to visit him annually, for a period of two weeks each summer and maybe one or two weeks during her winter break," said Dina.
Dina stressed that Carla never had the intention of becoming a royal princess at all.
Carla is currently pursuing her studies at a university in California, majoring in philosophy and pre-law. Her ambition is to become a lawyer.
Dina said Carla was a bright student who volunteers herself to feed the homeless. Her daughter also worked with disadvantaged youth through her church.
"Carla has also informed her father through his lawyers that the reconciliation she sought was not for money and that she was not for sale," said Dina, adding that Carla was disappointed when the sultan and his lawyers indicated in the meetings that he was reluctant to have a steady relationship with his daughter.
According to Dina, the settlement must include a written acknowledgment of Carla's paternity, an agreement that Carla be allowed to visit her father annually and that Carla be accepted as one of the sultan's children.
However, a source close to the royal family told malaysiakini that despite the sultan's willingness to offer RM10 million to both mother and daughter, Dina wanted Carla to be part of the sultan's inheritance.