Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has been named Malaysia's new king. The 59-year-old was picked after the abrupt resignation of Sultan Muhammad V earlier this month.
Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah of central Pahang state was elected Malaysia's 16th king on Thursday following a meeting with the country's royal households.
The appointment followed the shock decision of Sultan Muhammad V to step aside after just two years on the throne — the first abdication of a monarch in the country's history. The resignation came after his reported marriage to a 25-year-old former Russian beauty queen late last year.
A statement from the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, said Sultan Abdullah "has been chosen as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (king) for a period of five years."
He will be crowned in a ceremony on January 31.
The 59-year-old, known as a keen athlete, holds key positions in several international sports bodies, including football governing body FIFA.
Sultan Mohammad V abdicated this month after reports surfaced that he had married a Russian beauty queen
Under Malaysia's unique rotating monarchy system, the nine ethnic state rulers take turns serving on the throne for five-year terms. Abdullah was widely expected to become king as Pahang was next in line to provide the monarch. He was crowned sultan of Pahang on January 15 after his ailing father stepped aside.
While their role is ceremonial, Malaysia's royalty command great respect and criticizing them is strictly prohibited.
nm/rt (AFP, AP)