Nation stunned after King's shock abdication
After speculation that he married a Russian beauty pageant contestant, the King of Malaysia has stepped down from his coveted position and abdicated the throne.
In a historical moment for the country, Sultan Muhammad V’s controversial decision is the first time a King has stepped down from the role during their five-year term.
The 49-year-old’s resignation was confirmed by the national palace and has been put in place immediately.
The former King held his position on the throne for two years before submitting his resignation.
“His majesty tells the people of Malaysia to continue to be united to maintain unity, tolerance, and work together,” said a statement from the Comptroller of the Royal Household, Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz.
The Islamic rulers of Malaysia will now gather and decide upon the next King. Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, meaning unlike royalty around the world, the King changes once every five years.
The top position is given to a ruler of one of the nine Malaysian states headed by Islamic royalty which dates back hundreds of years.
Despite Royal officials not providing a reason for his sudden departure, there have been many rumours surrounding Sultan Muhammad V’s reign even before he made the decision to abdicate.
After taking medical leave in November, British and Russian media had reported that he had tied the knot to former Miss Moscow in an extravagant ceremony.
Malaysian Royal officials are yet to comment on the alleged marriage or on the King’s health.