New Malaysian king to be picked this month after shock abdication

A statement from Istana Negara

He is also the ruling sultan of Kelantan, one of Malaysia's nine states. "Throughout his tenure as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, his Royal Highness has fulfilled his duties as the Head of State, a pillar of national stability, a source of justice and basis of unity and uniting factor for the people".

The ST cited reports that the couple has visited a fertility clinic in Germany because Sultan Muhammad's first marriage was childless and he is desperate to start a family.

The Istana Negara in a statement yesterday announced that the Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V had stepped down as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong effective the same day but did not mention any reason for the resignation.

The monarch's role is largely ceremonial, since administrative power is vested in the prime minister and parliament.

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

Media has reported tension between the palace and the government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad since the latter returned to power past year.

"The Rulers have chose to hold a special Council of Rulers meeting on Thursday, 24th January 2019 for the objective of electing the Yang di-Pertuan Agong XVI (16) and the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong".

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Wan Ahmad said His Majesty has decreed that Malaysians continue to remain united, practice compromise and work together in shouldering the responsibilities towards this sovereign nation so Malaysia will continue to be in peace and harmony.

The royal households take it in turn to provide the country's king, and it is usually known before the formal election who will become the monarch.

Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Ismail is next in the rotation system.

Despite the images, Prime Minister Mahathir said then that he did not have official confirmation on the wedding when questioned about it earlier this week.

During his medical leave, Muhammad V reportedly married 25-year-old Russian beauty Oksana Voevodina, who won the Miss Moscow pageant in 2015.

Ms Voevodina, who is from the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, described her young self as a "bandit" who liked skates and bikes, and boys who took part in these competitions, reported British tabloid Daily Mail.

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