See More on Facebook

Culture and society, Politics

Malaysian rulers to pick new king by the month’s end

Previous king stepped down in unprecedented move on Sunday.


Written by

Updated: January 8, 2019

Malaysia’s Conference of Rulers will meet in about two weeks’ time to elect the country’s new constitutional monarch and his deputy after the King, Sultan Muhammad V, stepped down on Sunday in an unprecedented move.

The 16th King, or Supreme Ruler, and his deputy will be sworn in at the end of the month, Keeper of the Royal Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said in a press statement.

Yesterday morning, six of Malaysia’s nine ruling monarchs held a meeting at the national palace, Istana Negara, following Sultan Muhammad’s decision to step down as the Malaysian King.

“The rulers have also decided that a special meeting for the swearing-in ceremony for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong will be held on Thursday, Jan 31, 2019,” the statement added.

The rulers in attendance at yesterday’s meeting were from Perlis, Terengganu, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Perak and Kedah.

According to the statement, the ruler of Pahang did not attend the meeting as he was unwell, and the Sultan of Selangor was overseas.

Sultan Muhammad, who is from Kelantan state, was seen performing Friday prayers in the state last week.

Neither the palace nor the Prime Minister’s Office has given a reason for the sudden abdication of the 49-year-old Sultan Muhammad, after just two years as King – three years short of the usual five-year tenure. Though a constitutional monarch, the King is seen as a symbol of Malay power and protector of Islam, the state religion.

Under Malaysia’s unique five-year rotation system involving the nine royal Malay houses, the next in line is Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang, 88, followed by Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, 60, and then Sultan Nazrin Shah from Perak, 62. Sultan Ahmad Shah is not in good health and his son has been Regent for two years.

The Conference of Rulers groups the nine sultans and four governors of states with no royal families (Penang, Melaka, Sabah, Sarawak). But voting for the next King is done only by the nine Malay rulers, with priority given to the monarch who is next in line.

In the interim period, Sultan Nazrin Shah, the current Deputy King, will likely serve as Acting King, reported the New Straits Times.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday that the government hopes the new King would be elected as soon as possible. Tun Dr Mahathir said the election had to be expedited because he had to have an audience with the King on certain matters.

“The government accepts the decision of Sultan Muhammad V to step down. It is in accordance with the Constitution,” Dr Mahathir told reporters after attending an event, according to Bernama news agency.

Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said she was saddened to hear of Sultan Muhammad’s abdication as he was the one who had pardoned her husband Anwar Ibrahim, who had been jailed for sodomy.

“We respect his decision, but I am also sad as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was there when a big change happened in the country, he was there to swear in the new Prime Minister and also saw the change of government which is historic,” she told local media.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Culture and society, Politics

Japan Olympic chief denies corruption allegations

The president of the Japanese IOC says there is nothing to worry about. Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), on Tuesday rejected allegations of corruption related to Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, telling a Tokyo press conference, “There’s nothing to be suspicious of.” Takeda, 71, made the remark after French judicial authorities launched a full-scale investigation into suspicions that Takeda, who was then head of the bid committee, was involved in the corruption. The JOC told the media before the press conference that it would not hold a question-and-answer session, on the grounds that the French investigation was ongoing. Takeda read out a prepared statement instead. According to French media, the focus of prosecutors’ investigation is whether a total of about ¥230 million (


By The Japan News
January 16, 2019

Culture and society, Politics

China accuses Canada of double standard

Beijing slams Justin Trudeau’s criticism of drug smuggler’s death sentence. China on Tuesday expressed strong dissatisfaction at the Canadian prime minister’s criticism of a drug smuggler’s death sentence, urging the country to respect China’s judicial sovereignty and stop making irresponsible remarks. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that drug crimes are recognized worldwide as serious crimes and are extremely harmful to the society. She said all countries severely crack down on the issue and so does China. Remarks made by a “relevant Canadian person” lack the spirit of rule by law, she said, urging the Canadian side to correct the mistakes and stop making irresponsible remarks. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian national convicted of smuggling over 222 kilograms of methamphetamines, was sentenced to death on Monday at


By China Daily
January 16, 2019

Culture and society, Politics

Xi: Step up fight against corruption

The president calls for more measures to be taken against corruption. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, called on Friday for all-around efforts to fight corruption and improve the nation’s oversight system to secure even greater strategic outcomes in full and strict governance over the Party. Xi, China’s president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark at the third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing. The sweeping victory that has been secured in the anti-graft campaign must be consolidated by strengthening deterrence so that officials “don’t dare to, are unable to and have no desire to” commit acts of corruption, Xi said. To this end, anti-corruption efforts in financial fields should be stepped up, particularly in key projects, areas and posi


By China Daily
January 14, 2019

Culture and society, Politics

Read the Reuters special report that landed their journalists in jail

Myanmar’s attempt to silence and discourage the press must be called out. After the rejection of the appeal by the two Reuters journalist, I call on Asia News Network readers to share and read the report that got them there. “On Sept. 2, Buddhist villagers and Myanmar troops killed 10 Rohingya men in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state. Reuters uncovered the massacre and has pieced together how it unfolded. During the reporting of this article, two Reuters journalists were arrested by Myanmar police.” Read more: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/myanmar-rakhine-events/


By Cod Satrusayang
January 14, 2019

Culture and society, Politics

Reuters journalists to remain in jail

Myanmar court rejects appeal against 7-yr sentences; ruling decried as another injustice. This Reuters report originally appeared in the Daily Star.  A Myanmar court yesterday rejected the appeal of two Reuters reporters sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of breaking the Official Secrets Act, saying the defence had not provided sufficient evidence to show they were innocent. Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were convicted by a lower court in September in a landmark case that has raised questions about Myanmar’s progress towards democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates. “It was a suitable punishment,” said High Court Judge Aung Naing, referring to the seven-year prison term meted out by the lower court. The defence has the option of making a further appeal to the country’s supreme co


By Daily Star
January 14, 2019

Culture and society, Politics

Indian Army does not want LGBT service members

The Indian army chief said that the Indian Army is not ready to accept homosexuals in its service. India’s army chief General Bipin Rawat told reporters on Thursday that the Indian armed forces was not ready to have homosexuals in the service despite a law which decriminalized homosexuality being passed last year. “For LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues, in the Army these are not acceptable,” Rawat told reporters during an annual press briefing. “We are neither modernised, nor westernised. LGBT issues are not acceptable to us.” India’s Supreme Court decriminalized gay sex in a unanimous ruling last September prompting massive celebration for the country’s gay community. The law, known as Section 477 of the criminal code, had existed since the colonial period and similar vestiges of British rule exist throughout South and Southeast Asia.


By Cod Satrusayang
January 11, 2019