Malaysia's head of state Sultan Muhammad V resigns

A statement from Istana Negara

A statement from Istana Negara

KUALA LUMPUR-Malaysia's King Muhammad V abdicated on January 6, the palace said, after two years on the throne, the first time a monarch has stepped down before completing their five-year tenure.

The 49-year-old king returned to royal duties a week ago after two months of sick leave. Aziz, in the statement, did not indicate the reasons for the sultan's resignation but said the latter had expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister and government for rendering their full cooperation in governing the nation.

Despite mounting speculation in recent days the king might give up the throne, there was still palpable shock in the Muslim-majority country at the first abdication of a king since the end of British rule in 1957.

Sultan Muhammad V was installed as king in December 2016.

The King recently took a leave of absence from his role, and has been rocked by rumours that he had married a former Russian beauty queen.

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.

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.

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The announcement concludes a week of rumors and uncertainty regarding his future as king, and a mysterious - and rare - mid-week emergency meeting conducted by the eight other state sultans, from which the (now former) Agong was notably absent.

National police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun warned the public Monday not to speculate on Sultan Muhammad V's abdication.

"The Rulers have made a decision to hold a special Council of Rulers meeting on Thursday, 24th January 2019 for the goal of electing the Yang di-Pertuan Agong XVI (16) and the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong".

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.

The South China Morning Post saw a "game of thrones" getting underway in Malaysia as the Conference of Rulers, a body comprised of the nine eligible candidates for the crown plus a few non-voting provincial governors, meets to decide who the next king will be.

Mahathir said then that he did not have official confirmation on the wedding.

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