Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Malaysian king abdicates after week of intense speculation

Malaysian king abdicates after week of intense speculation

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.

Soon after, Malaysia's Council of Rulers held a "rare and unscheduled" meeting, amid speculation Sultan Muhammad would step down.

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

Despite this, the role is accorded considerable prestige, particularly among the country's Malay Muslim majority, for whom the king is seen as upholding Malay and Islamic tradition. The sultan was the ruler of the northern state of Kelantan and his resignation is the first time a monarch has stepped down before completing the five-year tenure.

As the country reacted with shock to the news, Malaysia's Islamic royal families set about the task of electing a new king to replace Muhammad V, 49, who gave up the throne just two years into his term.

Malaysia is the only country in the world to have a rotational monarchy, in place since the country became independent in 1957.

The New Straits Times reports that the decision was reached after a meeting attended by six of the nine rulers who form the Conference of Rulers.

Media has also reported some tension between the palace and the government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad since the veteran leader returned to power past year.

"His Majesty hopes that all Malaysians will continue to stay united, tolerant and in agreement in shouldering the responsibility to safeguard the country's sovereignty so that Malaysia will remain in peace and harmony", he said.

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".

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

He added the king had officially notified the other Malay rulers via letter.

He has also expressed his highest appreciation to the prime minister and the government for their cooperation, the statement said.

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