Malaysia's head of state Sultan Muhammad V resigns

Malaysia's head of state Sultan Muhammad V resigns

Malaysia's head of state Sultan Muhammad V resigns

Sultan Muhammad V stepped down as Malaysia's king on Sunday (Jan 6) after just two years on the throne - marking a first in the country's history.

The 49-year-old king and Oksana, a former Miss Moscow victor, were allegedly married on 22 November in Barvikha, Russia.

The palace said in a statement King Sultan Muhammad V had resigned as Malaysia's 15th king with immediate effect, cutting short his five-year term.

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

But the succession may not be as straightforward this time as the next in line to the throne, Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang state, is elderly and reported to be ailing.

Sultan Nazrin, who is the Deputy Agong, will serve as acting King in the interim.

Sultan Muhammad V delayed Mahathir's swearing-in as prime minister after a historic election victory in May a year ago, and also delayed giving his consent to the appointment of a non-Muslim attorney general.

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Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with a unique arrangement where the throne changes hands every five years between rulers of the nine Malaysian states headed by centuries-old Islamic royalty.

No Malaysian monarch has stepped away from the throne since the country gained independence from the United Kingdom more than 60 years ago.

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

"The Royal Malaysia Police wants the laws to be maintained but if there are certain parties who are dissatisfied, we leave it to the committee formed under the Ministry of Home Affairs (to decide)", he said. 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.

However, the Agong does not have the power to dismiss a prime minister.

Sultan Muhammad himself was selected on the final day of a three-day sitting of the Conference of Rulers in 2016.

Muhammad V was previously married to a member of another Malay royal family in 2004 but the couple divorced in 2008.

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