Sultan Muhammad V steps down as Malaysia's King

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's King abdicated on Sunday (Jan 6), confirming rumours that had heightened after this week's meeting of the country's nine monarchs.

The National Palace said that Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, 49, has resigned as the 15th Agong, or Supreme Ruler of the federation.

"His Majesty has prepared to return to Kelantan Darul Naim to be with the state government and especially the people of Kelantan to safeguard and develop Kelantan for the betterment of the public," the Istana Negara said.

Malaysia's nine Malay state rulers elect an Agong among themselves every five years usually on a rotational basis. But Sultan Muhammad's resignation comes just two years after he ascended in Dec 2016.

His reign ended in controversial fashion after taking a two-month break "following treatment" beginning Nov 2, during which time it was reported that he had wedded Russian beauty queen Oksana Voevodina in Moscow.

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.