Malaysian rulers set deadline to pick king

Sultan Nazrin Shah from Perak, 62, the current Deputy King, will likely serve as Acting King in the interim period, according to media reports.
Sultan Muhammad V, seen here in a 2017 photo, stepped down on Sunday in an unprecedented move. A new king and his deputy will be sworn in at the end of the month. PHOTO: REUTERS

Malaysia will appoint a new king by the end of this month, after Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan stepped down on Sunday just two years into his five-year reign.

The 16th king will be decided by a ballot among the nine Malay rulers. Though only a constitutional monarch, the king is seen as a symbol of Malay power and protector of Islam, the state religion.

Sultan Muhammad's abdication followed growing discomfort among some of the other Malay sultans over the damage the royal institution had suffered recently.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2019, with the headline 'Malaysian rulers set deadline to pick king'. Print Edition | Subscribe