KOTA BARU - Kelantan's Deputy Menteri Besar Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah on Thursday (Jan 3) asked the public not to believe in speculation that the Malaysian King will be stepping down from the throne.
Datuk Amar told reporters that the state government has not received any information about this, Malaysiakini news site reported.
He was responding to questions from the media in Kota Baru, Kelantan's state capital, about rumours on social media that Sultan Muhammad V will abdicate soon from his role as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, as the country's king is officially called. The 49-year old ruler is from Kelantan.
"The state government has no knowledge. If it's a rumour, don't believe it."
"We shouldn't be surprised because people say many things in rumours, not only about the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, but also the government. So don't believe the rumours," Mr Amar was quoted as saying by the news site.
The Kelantan ruler is currently on leave.
Mr Amar, a vice-president of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) that controls the Kelantan state legislature, said the Attorney-General should step in to stop the circulation of "fake news", New Straits Times (NST) online quoted him as saying.
"It is the duty of the Attorney-General to ensure that incorrect information does not spread among the people," he said.
"We are talking about an institution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is an institution, the Sultan is an institution," he added.
Sultan Muhammad V went on leave from Nov 2 to rest "following treatment", Bernama news agency had reported.
In late November, media reports said he had married a beauty queen from Russia, Ms Oksana Voevodina, in Moscow.
When asked about this at the time, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he had no official knowledge.
"I don't know. I don't have any official confirmation so I can't say anything," he said.
During the King's absence, his duties as Malaysia's constitutional monarch were taken up by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, 62.
Sultan Nazrin left the national palace Istana Negara on Dec 31 at the end of his tenure as acting King, according to media reports.
Under Malaysia's unique rotational system among the nine Malay royal houses, the sultans take turns to be appointed the Agong every five years.
Sultan Muhammad V was proclaimed Malaysia's 15th King in December 2016.
Speculation about the abdication appeared to have heated up soon after this week's regular meeting of the Conference of Rulers. Conference members are the titular heads of Malaysia's 13 states - the nine sultans and four state governors (Penang, Melaka, Sabah, Sarawak).
Adding to the speculation, Tun Dr Mahathir in a cryptic post on Wednesday in his blog titled "Rule of Law", said that every Malaysian, including the sultans, must follow the law.
"The Rule of Law applies to everyone from the Rulers to the Prime Minister and Ministers, to the civil servants and ordinary citizens," he said.
"There is no provision which exempts anyone from the Rule of Law. For the Rulers, there is a special court but the laws are the same as the laws applicable to ordinary citizens. The Rulers too must respect the laws."
He did not explain what he meant, especially when he wrote in the next sentence: "It is disturbing to see blatant breaches of the law being perpetrated in the mistaken belief that immunity has somehow been accorded."