MALAYSIA’S Conference of Rulers has named the country’s new king on Wednesday, following the unprecedented resignation of Sultan Muhammad V earlier this month.
The conference, which comprised the Sultans of the Southeast Asian country’s nine royal houses named the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin, as the 16th Yang di-pertuan Agung, or the supreme ruler of the state.
In a statement, the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, said Sultan’s five-year reign will begin on Jan 31, Bernama reported.
The statement also named Sultan Nazrin Shah, the Sultan of Perak, as the Deputy Yang di-pertuan Agung.
The appointments were made after the Malay Rulers convened the 251st special meeting at the National Palace on Wednesday.
Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin ascended the Pahang throne on Jan 15, less than two weeks after Sultan Muhammad V’s resignation, replacing his elderly, ailing father, which made eligible to be elected as the next national monarch.
As a keen athlete, Sultan Abdullah holds also holds positions in sporting bodies including the council of world football governing body Fifa. According to the AFP, the Sultan is president of the Asian Hockey Association and a former head of the Football Association of Malaysia.
An official biography published by Bernama said the Sultan is a keen polo player who studied at the Sandhurst military academy in Britain.
Sultan Muhammad V’s resignation on Jan 6 comes two years after he ascended the throne and three years shy of his five-year term as the country’s head of state.
His resignation also comes barely days after he returned from a two-month medical leave and months after he reportedly married 25-year-old Russian beauty queen Oksana Voevodina.
Under Malaysia’s unique constitutional monarchy system, the office of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which was set up 1957 – the year Malaysia gained independence from British occupation – mandates a formal election of the head of state for a five-year term.
The role of Malaysia’s rulers is largely ceremonial, but the constitution provides certain extensive powers to the appointed Agong.
As custodian of Islam, the official religion of the country, the Agung has three major roles; appointing the Prime Minister, dissolving parliament to make way for elections, and to call for meetings involving the conference of rulers.
However, the ruler does not have the power to dismiss a prime minister.
The selection of the Agong is done by the Majlis Raja-raja, also known as the Conference of Rulers consisting the nine rulers of the Malay states.
Out of Malaysia’s 13 states, only nine have hereditary royal houses.