Malaysia king abdicates in historic first

Sultan Muhammad V has stepped down as Malaysia’s king after a week of speculation about the monarch’s status following his two-month leave of absence

Malaysia's King Muhammad V resigns

Malaysia's national palace announced Sunday that King Sultan Muhammad V has abdicated his role as Agong - or "king of kings".

The king was dressed in Malaysian national clothes, and the bride wore a white wedding dress.

Many Malaysians were shocked by news of the nation's historic first royal resignation.

The selection of the Agong is done by the Majlis Raja-raja, also known as the Conference of Rulers consisting the nine rulers of the Malay states.

His abdication is a first for Malaysia since the country gained independence from the United Kingdom more than 60 years ago.

Sultan Muhammad had taken medical leave in November and just days later, photos surfaced that appeared to show him marrying Oksana, 25.

King Muhammad, 49, who comes from the northeastern state of Kelantan, had resumed duties last week after two months on medical leave.

Despite this, it is accorded considerable prestige, particularly among the country's Malay Muslim majority for whom the king is seen as upholding Malay and Islamic tradition.

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Reports then circulated online that he had married a former Miss Moscow in Russian Federation - although royal officials in Malaysia have so far not commented.

The rotating monarchy system has been in place since independence from Britain in 1957, and Sultan Muhammad V is the first monarch to have renounced the throne.

Speculation intensified over the king's future this week when the country's Islamic royals reportedly held a special meeting.

Dahlan said that the king had expressed his appreciation for Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the government for their cooperation.

In a surprising revelation, Sultan Muhammad V has made the decision to stepped down from his position as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

According to a report from official news agency Bernama at the time of his enthronement, he "fills his free time by reading and has an interest in extreme sports such as four-wheel drive expeditions and endurance challenges and shooting".

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.

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