Should Malaysia abolish the monarchy

King of Malaysia abdicates

"The National Palace announces that His Majesty will abdicate as the 15th King with effect from January 6," said a statement from the palace. It is the first time since Malaysia's independence from Great Britain in 1957 that a king abdicates before the end of his five-year term in the Muslim-majority country in Southeast Asia. The palace did not name a reason for the 49-year-old's withdrawal.

Wedding pictures in circulation

There had been speculation about the future of King Muhammad Sultan V for weeks. In November the king had officially suspended his office because of medical treatment. Reports then circulated on the Internet that the king had married a former beauty queen in Russia. Representatives of the royal family did not comment on this.

Wedding pictures on social networks fueled the rumors at the end of November

Speculation had increased in the past few days when media reports said Islamic members of the royal family came together for a special meeting.

Royal family with centuries of tradition

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy. The Islamic kings are re-determined every five years according to a rotation system. The throne is then alternately handed over to the respective ruler of the nine Malaysian states. These come from centuries-old Islamic royal houses.

The king of Malaysia has a purely ceremonial role, but enjoys great respect in the Southeast Asian country. Muhammad V was appointed the 15th head of Malaysia at the end of 2016.

rk / fab (afp, rtr)