Malaysia's king steps down in historic first

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Malaysian King Muhammad V attends a welcome ceremony at the Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia February 26, 2017.

Malaysian royal officials on Sunday confirmed that king Sultan Muhammad V has abdicated just two years after he took up the role in December 2016, AFP reported.

The 49-year-old, who is noted for his love for cars and extreme sports, took leave at the start of November for two months. Aziz, in the statement, did not indicate the reasons for the sultan's resignation but said the latter had expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister and government for rendering their full cooperation in governing the nation.

The Sunday evening announcement marks the first time in Malaysia's history since British independence that an Agong has abdicated the throne.

Sultan Muhammad V's resignation comes barely two years after he ascended the throne and three years shy of his five-year term as the country's head of state.

Malaysia's royal families have met to decide when a new king will be elected from among them after King Muhammad V unexpectedly resigned, according to the country's national news agency Bernama.

The palace has not commented on reports of a marriage.

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PRIME Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today the government hopes that the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong will be elected as soon as possible.

While the position is largely ceremonial, the monarch is tasked with upholding Malay and Islamic tradition.

During that period, photos that were said to be of the couple's wedding began making rounds online, with reports naming Sultan Muhammad's love interest as 25-year-old Oksana Voevodina, the victor of the Miss Moscow 2015 title.

In Malaysia's constitutional monarchy system, the election for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is held on a rotational basis every five years.

Reports circulated online earlier claimed that the king in November had married a former Miss Moscow in Russian Federation.

Mahathir, known for challenging royalty during his earlier 22-year tenure as prime minister, said in a blog post last week that everyone "from the Rulers to the Prime Minister and Ministers, to the civil servants and ordinary citizens" is subject to the law.

Mahathir said then that he did not have official confirmation on the wedding.

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