The Comptroller of the Royal Household announced yesterday (6 January) that Sultan Muhammad V has stepped down as Malaysia’s King with immediate effect.
“His Royal Highness informed this matter officially to the other rulers by writing to the secretary of the Conference of Rulers,” said the statement which was issued from Istana Negara.
The Comptroller noted that Sultan Muhammad V was all set to leave for Kelantan “to be with the state government and the people to protect and develop the state for the people’s benefit”.
Never before in Malaysia has a King left his position.
It appears that Sultan Muhammad V, who is the Kelantan ruler, was rumoured to have been asked to abdicate after his reported marriage to former Russian model Oksana Voevodina.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told on Friday (4 January) that he has no knowledge of Sultan Muhammad V’s rumoured intention to abdicate.
“Like you, I’ve heard rumours. I have not received any letter or any official indication about anything,” he said when asked by Malaysian press regarding this issue.
Until the Conference of Rulers decides on the next King, Deputy Agong Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak, will likely serve as the acting King.
Malaysia’s unique constitutional monarchy system requires the King to be elected by the heads of the nine royal houses who rule their own states.
Since the Kelantan ruler’s resignation is unprecedented, the Conference of Rulers have to hold an unscheduled election within the next four weeks to select the new King.