A keen athlete who holds positions at several sporting bodies was elected as Malaysia's new King yesterday.
The Sultan of Pahang, 59, will be the country's 16th constitutional monarch, replacing the Kelantan ruler who made a surprise decision to abdicate on Jan 6 after just two years on the throne.
A special meeting of the Conference of Rulers yesterday picked Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin to reign for the next five years, under Malaysia's unique rotation system involving the nine Malay royal families. The meeting involved eight of the nine Malay rulers, including Sultan Abdullah himself. The Kelantan ruler, Sultan Muhammad V, did not attend the meeting at the national palace.
Sultan Abdullah is a member of the council of world football governing body Fifa, president of the Asian Hockey Association and a former head of the Football Association of Malaysia. He is also a keen polo player.
He was installed as the new ruler of Pahang last week after his father Ahmad Shah, 88, stepped down due to declining health.
At the same meeting yesterday, Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah, 62, was again elected as the Deputy King.
Sultan Abdullah and his Deputy King will officially take up their posts next Thursday.