Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
World News | By Sandy Lane

Malaysia’s King ABDICATES: King Muhammad V resigns after ‘marrying Russian’

Malaysia’s King ABDICATES: King Muhammad V resigns after ‘marrying Russian’

Malaysia's king has abdicated, royal officials said on Sunday, in a historic first for the country that ended weeks of speculation about his future after he took medical leave.

Keeper of the Ruler's Seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, announced on Monday the Council of Rulers held a meeting and set a date of January 24 to elect a new king.

The council of nine sultans met at the National Palace to determine who the next king will be.

Malaysia's kings are usually selected on a rotational basis from amongst the country's nine monarchical heads for a stipulated five-year term.

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The tension resurfaced in May, when Mahathir was made to wait for hours at the palace for his swearing-in as prime minister the day after his shock election victory, which led to Malaysia's first change in government since its independence in 1957.

The king had officially notified the Malay Rulers on his abdication through a letter sent to the Secretary of the Conference of Rulers, said the comptroller of the royal household in a statement.

However, the Agong does not have the power to dismiss a prime minister. In June, the government and the Agong reached an impasse regarding the appointment of ethnic Indian lawyer Tommy Thomas as attorney general, a position normally reserved for a member of the Malay-Muslim majority race - although the constitution does not specify a specific race, gender or religious requirement for the role.

Still, some sultans have in recent years become more active in business and politics.

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Sultan Muhammad V studied at St Cross College at Oxford and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

Sultan Muhammad V, ruler of northeast Kelantan state, was installed in December 2016 as one of Malaysia's youngest constitutional monarchs.

Pictures of the couple show them sitting in front of a... No reason was given and palace officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Mahathir, known for challenging royalty during his earlier 22-year tenure as prime minister, said in a blog post last week that everyone "from the Rulers to the Prime Minister and Ministers, to the civil servants and ordinary citizens" is subject to the law.

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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.

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