Malaysian Royals Pick Pahang Sultan as New King

Flags fly Thursday at the Malaysia National Palace in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: Vincent Thian / Associated Press
Flags fly Thursday at the Malaysia National Palace in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: Vincent Thian / Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR — Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah of central Pahang state has been named Malaysia’s new king, replacing Sultan Muhammad V who abdicated unexpectedly after just two years on the throne.

The 49-year-old ruler resigned Jan. 6 as Malaysia’s 15th king, marking the first abdication in the nation’s history and cutting short his five-year term. No reason was given, but the move came after he reportedly married a 25-year-old former Russian beauty queen in November.

Keeper of the Ruler’s Seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, says the Conference of Rulers on Thursday elected Sultan Abdullah under a unique rotating monarchy system.

Sultan Abdullah is a key figure in several international sports bodies. He will be sworn in on Jan. 31 for a five-year term.