Malaysia's king abdicates in historic first , Latest World News

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Sultan Muhammad V is stepping down immediately as the 15th King of Malaysia after serving since December 13, 2016, according to a statement from the palace on Sunday which gave no reason for the abdication.

While their role is ceremonial, Malaysia's royalty command great respect, especially from Muslim Malays, and criticizing them is strictly forbidden. The statement did not give a reason for the 49-year-old ruler's abdication. He went on medical leave in November and, later that month, photographs emerged that appeared to show him marrying a former Miss Moscow in the Russian capital.

Many Malaysians were shocked by news of the nation's historic first royal resignation. The wedding has not been confirmed by either the royal palace or Malaysia's elected government, but foreign tabloids and websites have published photos of the ceremony.

Reports in Russian and British media and on social media featured pictures of the wedding, which reportedly took place in Moscow in November, while the king was on a two-month medical leave.

The announcement concludes a week of rumors and uncertainty regarding his future as king, and a mysterious - and rare - mid-week emergency meeting conducted by the eight other state sultans, from which the (now former) Agong was notably absent.

Despite this, it is accorded considerable prestige, particularly among the country's Malay Muslim majority for whom the king is seen as upholding Malay and Islamic tradition.

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Sultan Muhammad V has made preparations to return to his home state of Kelantan. "The King would like to offer his thanks to all the state Rulers for selecting him as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong".

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun has warned the public not to engage in speculation following the resignation of Sultan Muhammad V as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong yesterday.

Constitutional law expert Nizam Bashir Abdul Kariem Bashir told New Strait Times today that while the rules of succession are "intricate", he expects an announcement soon.

He is also the ruling sultan of Kelantan, one of Malaysia's nine states.

But such a marriage is unlikely to sit well with the country´s conservative royal households.

The King also expressed his highest appreciation to the Prime Minister and the Federal government for their cooperation.

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