THE Malaysian King Sultan Muhammad V stepped down from the throne Sunday in an unprecedented resignation for the country, ending days of widespread speculation of his future in the office and amid rumours of his recent marriage to a Russian ex-model.
Malaysian King Sultan Muhammad V reportedly married 25-year-old former Miss Moscow, Oksana Voevodina, in November - fewer than two months before he abdicated the throne.
Malaysia's National Palace did not give a reason for his resignation but said it would take effect immediately.
There had been a question mark over the reign of the king since his leave of absence "for medical treatment" in November.
Royal officials in Malaysia have not so far commented on the reportedwedding, or said what condition prompted him to take medical leave.
Sultan Muhammad V of Malaysia saluting a royal guard of honour during the opening ceremony of the Parliament in Kuala Lumpur in July past year.
Sultan Muhammad V was installed as king in December 2016.
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.
"His Highness has worked towards fulfilling his responsibilities entrusted to him as the head of state, serving as a pillar of stability, source of justice, the core of unity...for the people", the statement said.
Although the functions of the king are largely ceremonial, he also serves to safeguard Islam in Muslim-majority Malaysia, and must assent to the appointment of individuals for various senior government roles including that of prime minister.
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.
Earlier on Monday, Mahathir said the government hoped the council would elect a new king as soon as possible as the government needed to keep the king apprised on "certain matters", Bernama reported.
Malaysia's sultans trace a lineage back to Malay sultanates of the 15th century. The king is referred to as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or "He Who Is Made Lord".
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