Malaysia's King Muhammad V resigns

Arturo Kim
January 8, 2019

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in a brief posting on his Facebook paid tribute to and gave the highest appreciation to Sultan Muhammad V on his service as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Malaysia's royal families will meet on January 24 to pick a new king after Sultan Muhammad V abdicated unexpectedly after just two years on the throne, an official said Monday.

Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun has warned Malaysians not to speculate the reason behind the Agong's resignation and not to issue any provocative statements about it, as they could face legal consequences.

It marked the first abdication in the nation's history.

Muhammad V was selected in October 2016 as Malaysia's head of state.

He went on medical leave in November and, the following month, photographs emerged that appeared to show him marrying a former Miss Moscow in the Russian capital.

The reports featured pictures of the supposed wedding, which were said to have taken place on Nov 22 in a concert hall in the upscale Moscow suburb of Barvikha.

Sultan Muhammad V's decision marks the first time a king has abdicated in the Muslim-majority country since it gained independence from Britain in 1957.

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Speculation intensified about the king's future after his medical leave officially finished at the end of December, and the country's Islamic royals reportedly held a special meeting last week.

Next in line is Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang, but he is said to be ailing and his son has been Regent for two years.

He is also the ceremonial ruler of the conservative Islamic northern state of Kelantan.

The palace has neither confirmed nor denied these reports, however the wedding sparked concerns that a foreigner might be inaugurated as Queen.

The Council of Rulers will meet on January 24 to elect the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong and his deputy.

Images purporting to show him getting married in Russian Federation appeared on social media in December and identified his new wife as a model and former Miss Moscow, Oksana Voevodina.

However, the king's assent is needed before the appointment of the prime minister and senior public officials.

Malaysia has a elective constitutional monarchy at the national level.

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