MALAYSIA’S King Muhammad V abdicated on Sunday a week after returning from sick leave, during which time pictures emerged appearing to show him getting married to a Russian beauty queen.
The king’s resignation took effect immediately, the National Palace said in a statement. It follows weeks of speculation that the ruler would step down.
The 49-year-old king returned to royal duties a week ago after two months of sick leave.
But in December, pictures emerged on social media purporting to show him getting married in Russia.
The king is claimed to have married 25-year-old Oksana Voevodina in a lavish ceremony in Moscow.
The bride – who won Miss Moscow in 2015 and has worked as a model in China and Thailand – is said to have converted to Islam ahead of the wedding.
The palace has not commented on reports of a marriage.
The king’s resignation marks the first time a monarch has stepped down before completing their five-year reign.
It comes after two years on the throne and no reason was given.
In a statement, the palace said the king was grateful for the opportunity.
And the monarch thanked the prime minister and government for their cooperation during his rule.
The statement added: “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.”
Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and the king’s role is largely ceremonial.
However, the king’s assent is needed before the appointment of the prime minister and senior public officials.
And the monarch is the custodian of Islam in the Muslim-majority country.
Malaysia has nine royal households with the ruler changing every five years.
The Council of Rulers, which is made up of the nine royal households, vote to select the next monarch.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK