7 January 2019

Malaysia: New king to be elected on 24 January 2019

Following the abdication of the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Head of State/King) of Malaysia, Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, yesterday, the Conference of Rulers decided today that the new king would be elected in a special meeting on Thursday 24 January 2019.

According to Thestar.com, the meeting was attended by the rulers from Terengganu, Perlis, Negri Sembilan, Johor, Perak and Kedah. The Sultan of Selangor was abroad, while the Sultan of Pahang felt unwell and therefore stayed home. A special meeting for the swearing-in ceremony for the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong will be held on Thursday 31 January 2019.

No official explanation for the king's decision to abdicate has been given, but The Straits Times points to the complaints made by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in June last year, alleging that «Sultan Muhammad had not abided by the rule of law in delaying his installation as Premier and the appointment of a new Attorney-General». The events had caused debate and allegedly damaged the royal institution, something some of the Malay rulers were unhappy about. The final straw was supposedly the King's wedding to a 25-year-old Russian model (Oksana Voevodina, following convertion to Islam renamed Rihana Oxana Gorbatenko) while he was on sick leave last fall.

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