Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin – The Sultan of Pahang (the largest State in Malaysia), has been sworn in as the 16th King of Malaysia. The move follows a sudden decision of his 49-year-old predecessor, Sultan Muhammad V, to step down from his position.
Although no official reason has been given for the abdication of Sultan Muhammad V, there are reports of his marriage to a 25-year-old Russian Model, Oksana Vojvodina. He resigned on January 6, 2019, after serving 2 years of his term as the King. This is for the first time in the history of Malaysia that a King has stepped down.
Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy with an arrangement making provision for national throne to be changed every 5 years or when the position is vacant. However, only rulers of 9 States of Malaysia are eligible for this throne. The rulers of 9 States take their turn to serve as King also known as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, under a system that was agreed in 1957, when Malaysia got independence from British.
The new King was appointed after a special meeting of the Conference of Rulers. The Conference of Rulers is a council comprising of all the 9 rulers of the Malay States and the Governors of other 4 States. It was officially established by Article 38 of the Constitution of Malaysia and is the only such institution in the world. The main responsibility of Conference of Rulers is the election of the King and his Deputy (also known as Timbalan Yang di-Pertuan Agong).
The 59-year-old, Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin preferred a traditional pale blue outfit and took oath at the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur. He was accompanied by his wife, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah. In Malaysia, the King is also the Head of the State and Commander of the Armed Forces. The coronation ceremony was aired on the national television.
Post coronation, Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin was welcomed by the Prime Minister of Malaysia – Mahathir Bin Mohamad and other Members of Parliament at the Parliament House.
Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin is an enthusiastic polo player who went to Britain to study at Sandhurst Military Academy. Besides, Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin is a member of the Executive Committee of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), an international governing body of association football. He is also serving as President of Asian Hockey Federation. Earlier, he was the Head of Football Association of Malaysia.
The Sultan of Perak – Sultan Nazrin Shah also took oath as the Deputy to Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin.