King Muhammad of Malaysia abdicates

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"The National Palace informs that his majesty has resigned as the 15th king effective January 6", said a statement from the palace, without giving a reason for the abdication.

The king resigned on Sunday after just two years on the throne, the first time a monarch has stepped down before completing their five-year tenure. Instead, reports of his private marriage ceremony spread across global news pages and tabloid newspapers.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V married Miss Moscow 2015 beauty queen Oksana Voevodina in the Russian capital, yesterday.

She is 24 years younger than her new husband, who she married in Moscow late last year.

New image: Ms Voevodina, pictured with her new husband, converted to Islam previous year.

Images reportedly showing him getting married in Russian Federation appeared on social media in December.

Sultan Muhammad V is now ready to depart home to Kelantan, to protect and develop Kelantan for the welfare of the people, he added. He is keen on extreme sports like off-road driving, shooting and endurance challenges.

Malaysian King Sultan Muhammad V abdicated in an unexpected and rare move, just after two years on the throne.

While their role is ceremonial, Malaysia's royalty command great respect, especially from Muslim Malays, and criticizing them is strictly forbidden.

Among those wishing the former king well was scandal-plagued former premier Najib Razak, who wrote in a Facebook post: "We Malaysians pray for his health and that he is protected by Allah".

Despite the images, Prime Minister Mahathir said then that he did not have official confirmation on the wedding when questioned about it earlier this week.

The country has nine royal households, which take turns to sit on the throne.

The council of nine sultans met at the National Palace to determine who the next king will be. Kelantan is a rural state in eastern Malaysian. It was not clear why the other three did not attend.

Mohd Irwan Shaffii, meanwhile, wrote: "First time in history".

During his first period in power from 1981 to 2003, Dr Mahathir was repeatedly able to gain public support to clip the wings of the royals.

Mahathir led the opposition to a historic election win in May, defeating a coalition that had governed Malaysia for 60 years. Neither the sultan, the palace nor the government had officially confirmed the wedding. The Agong consented to the appointment after two weeks of the stand-off.

It was soon after the meeting last Wednesday that rumours swirled that Sultan Muhammad had been asked to step down in a week or face an embarrassing resolution to remove him.

"The highest appreciation to Sultan Muhammad V for his service as the 15th Agong (King)".

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