In a historic first, Malaysia’s king, Sultan Muhammad has abdicated and married a Russian ex-beauty queen. The 49-year-old ruler who had resigned as M
In a historic first, Malaysia’s king, Sultan Muhammad has abdicated and married a Russian ex-beauty queen. The 49-year-old ruler who had resigned as Malaysia’s 15th king, abdicated with immediate effect, cutting short his five-year term. It is the first abdication in the nation’s history.
Sultan Muhammad V, ruler of north-east Kelantan state, took his oath of office in December 2016, becoming one of Malaysia’s youngest constitutional monarchs. He has now married a 25-year-old former Russian beauty queen in Moscow and is also on a two-month medical leave.
Speculation that Sultan Muhammad V would step down emerged this past week, shortly after he returned from his leave, but Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday that he was unaware of any abdication plans. Under a unique system maintained since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957, nine hereditary state rulers take turns as the country’s king for five-year terms. The Council of Rulers is expected to meet soon to pick the next king.
The monarch’s role is largely ceremonial, since administrative power is vested in the prime minister and parliament. However, the monarch is highly regarded, particularly among the ethnic Malay Muslim majority, as the supreme upholder of Malay tradition.