BFF-24 Malaysia’s king abdicates: palace statement

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MALAYSIA-ROYALS-KING

Malaysia’s king abdicates: palace statement

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Malaysia’s king has abdicated, royal
officials said Sunday, ending weeks of speculation about his future after he
took a leave of absence and amid rumours he married a Russian former beauty
queen.

Sultan Muhammad V’s decision marks the first time a king has abdicated in
the Muslim-majority country since it gained independence from Britain in
1957.

“The National Palace informs that his majesty has resigned as the 15th
king effective January 6,” said a statement from the palace.

It did not give any reason for the 49-year-old royal’s move.

But there had been a question mark over the reign of the king, who
ascended to the throne in December 2016, since he took a leave of absence for
medical treatment in November.

Reports then circulated online that he had married a former Miss Moscow in
Russia — although royal officials in Malaysia have so far not commented on
the rumours.

Speculation intensified about his future this week when the country’s
Islamic royals reportedly held a special meeting.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with an unique arrangement where
the throne changes hands every five years between rulers of the nine
Malaysian states headed by centuries-old Islamic royalty.

BSS/AFP/FI/ 1810 hrs