Malaysia’s king abdicates: palace statement

08 January, 2019, 00:29 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan has stepped down as the 15th Yang di Pertuan Agong with his resignation effective on Jan 6 2019

Next in line for the top job is Sultan Azlan Shah of central Pahang state, who was king from 1979 to 1984, but the 88-year-old is now unwell and didn't attend Monday's council meeting.

Members of Malaysia's royal families agreed on Monday to vote for a new king on January 24 to replace King Muhammad V, who has stepped down unexpectedly, the national news agency Bernama reported.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun has warned the public not to engage in speculation following the resignation of Sultan Muhammad V as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong yesterday.

Despite this, it is accorded considerable prestige, particularly among the country's Malay Muslim majority for whom the king is seen as upholding Malay and Islamic tradition. Sultan Muhammad V, ruler of northeast Kelantan state, was installed in December 2016 as one of the country's youngest constitutional monarchs.

Malaysia is the only country in the world to have a rotational monarchy under a unique system maintained since the country's independence from Britain in 1957.

The Malaysian National Palace has said in a statement that Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan has resigned as the 15th Agong or Supreme Ruler of the federation.

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The role of king is largely ceremonial, with power in the hands of parliament and the prime minister.

And the monarch thanked the prime minister and government for their cooperation during his rule.

"His Majesty hopes that all Malaysians will continue to stay united, tolerant and in agreement in shouldering the responsibility to safeguard the country's sovereignty so that Malaysia will remain in peace and harmony", he said. The king is referred to as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or "He Who Is Made Lord".

"I didn't receive letters or any official indication about anything, so I am not going to talk about it", said Mahathir at a press conference on Friday.

The resignation comes barely a week after the king resumed his duties after spending two months away on medical leave.

But there had been growing unease at his reign after reports emerged in foreign media in late November - several weeks after the king went on leave - that he had married the Russian, Oksana Voevodina, in a lavish ceremony in Moscow.

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