Sultan Muhammad V steps down as Malaysia's king

Sultan Muhammad V steps down as Malaysia's king

Sultan Muhammad V steps down as Malaysia's king

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.

"In discharging the wishes of His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V, Istana Negara hereby announces that His Majesty is abdicating as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong effective Jan 6, 2019, pursuant to Article 32 (3) of the Federal Constitution", said Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz.

It comes after two years on the throne and no reason was given.

Oxford-educated Muhammad V had taken a two-month leave of absence in November and was due back in office on January 1, but questions arose last week over whether he had returned.

Reports then circulated online that he had married a former Miss Moscow in Russian Federation.

The palace has not yet commented on the rumors.

Sultan Muhammad V flanked by Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at the opening of the Parliament in July 2018.

Malaysia has a elective constitutional monarchy at the national level.

Speculation intensified about his future this week when the country's Islamic royals reportedly held a special meeting. Neither the sultan, the palace nor the government had officially confirmed the wedding.

He is known for a relaxed public persona, taking part in walkathons to promote health, and has been photographed wearing a baseball cap backwards. He is keen on extreme sports like off-road driving, shooting and endurance challenges.

He is also the ruling sultan of Kelantan, one of Malaysia's nine states.

The palace statement said he was "ready to return home to the state of Kelantan to be together with the state government and. the Kelantanese people". During his leave of absence, the ruler of western Perak state had been carrying out his duties.

"His Majesty has expressed his thanks to the rulers who have chosen him as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong from Dec 13, 2016".

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