Sultan Muhammad V steps down as Malaysia's King

Erika Holt
January 7, 2019

Malaysia's King Muhammad V abdicated on Sunday, the palace said, after two years on the throne, the first time a monarch has stepped down before completing their five-year tenure.

Sultan Muhammad V has officially informed the Malay Rulers of his decision via a letter that was sent to the secretary of the Conference of Rulers, said Wan Ahmad.

Last year the 49-year-old king married a beauty queen 24 years his junior, who rose to fame after being named Miss Moscow in 2015 at the age of 22.

No reason has been given for Sultan Muhammad V's resignation, which takes effect immediately.

In a statement earlier today the Comptroller of the Royal Household Wan Ahmad Dahlan Ab Aziz said: "The Palace would like to inform that the Seri Paduka Baginda Tuanku has resigned as the 15th Yang DiPertuan Agong effective January 6 in accordance to Article 32 (3) of the Federal Constitution".

The rulers of nine Malaysian states elect a king from among themselves every five years.

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The king's future has been the source of rampant speculation since he took medical leave at the start of November a year ago.

Reports then circulated online that he had married a former Miss Moscow in Russian Federation - although royal officials in Malaysia have so far not commented on the rumours. The palace did not respond to requests for comment on the photos or reports of a marriage.

Speculation intensified about the king's future this week when the country's Islamic royals reportedly held a special meeting.

While their role is ceremonial, Malaysia's Islamic royalty command great respect, especially from Muslim Malays, and criticising them is strictly forbidden. He is keen on extreme sports like off-road driving, shooting and endurance challenges. Kelantan is a rural state in eastern Malaysian.

Portraits of the king and queen adorn government buildings throughout the country.

Sultan Muhammad V was installed as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on April 24, 2017, after taking his oath of office on Dec 13, 2016.

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