Malaysian royals pick new king after historic abdication


24 Jan 2019

Sultan of Pahang elected as Malaysia's 16th king

Sultan Abdullah, the hereditary ruler of central Malaysian state of Pahang, was today elected as the 16th king of Malaysia.

Abdullah was named the new king at the Conference of Rulers in Kuala Lumpur after the last monarch, Sultan Muhammad V, stepped aside following his marriage to former Miss Moscow.

Abdullah is a keen athlete who holds a string of positions on sporting bodies.

The conference

Eight state-sultans arrived at Kuala Lumpur for choosing king

Eight state-sultans arrived at Kuala Lumpur for choosing king

Eight of the state sultans arrived at the national palace in Kuala Lumpur for the Conference of Rulers, a special meeting in which they elected the new king.

The meeting got underway at 10:30 am (local time 11:15 am).

Only Muhammad V was absent, who is still the sultan of the northeastern state of Kelantan, despite having abdicated as the national monarch.

Abdication reason: Muhammad V married former Miss Moscow Oksana Voevodina

Muhammad V abdicated this month following just two years on the throne after reports surfaced he had married former Miss Moscow Oksana Voevodina while on medical leave. There was great shock across Malaysia at the first abdication of a monarch in the Muslim-majority country's history.

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Sultan Abdullah is the president of Asian Hockey Association

Coming to Abdullah, he's a member of the FIFA council, which lays out the vision for global football, is president of the Asian Hockey Association, and a former head of the Football Association of Malaysia,

After attending school in Malaysia, the keen polo player went on to study in Britain, where he attended the Sandhurst military academy, according to a biography published on Bernama.

Why Abdullah?

Rulers of nine states change throne after every 5 years

Rulers of nine states change throne after every 5 years

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy where the national throne changes hands every 5 years between rulers of the country's nine states headed by Islamic royalty.

Sultan Abdullah, 59, was elected as the king because under the rotation system, his state, that is Pahang, was next in line.

He was named the state's new ruler, replacing his ailing father, several days after Muhammad V's abdication.

New king will be sworn in on January 31

The new king of Malaysia will be sworn in on January 31 in a lavish ceremony. While their role is ceremonial, Malaysia's royalty commands great respect, especially from the country's Muslim Malay majority, and criticizing them is strictly forbidden in the country.

Origin story

Malaysia's king is also the nominal chief of military

Portraits of the king and queen adorn government buildings throughout the country.

The king is also the symbolic head of Islam in the nation, as well as the nominal chief of the military.

Malaysia's sultans trace a lineage back to the Malay sultanates of the 15th century. The king is referred to as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or "He Who Is Made Lord".

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Sultan Abdullah

Sultan Muhammad V

Asian Hockey Association

Conference of Rulers


Football Association

Football Association of Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur

Made Lord

Miss Moscow Oksana Voevodina

Moscow Oksana Voevodina

Muhammad V

Muslim Malay


Pertuan Agong

Yang di-Pertuan Agong

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