Malaysia royals to pick new king after Muhhammad V abdication

Sultan Muhammad V’s abdication comes after he reportedly married a former Russian beauty queen in November while on medical leave. (AP)
Updated 07 January 2019
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Malaysia royals to pick new king after Muhhammad V abdication

  • Sultan Muhammad V’s resignation as Malaysia’s 15th king marks the first abdication in the nation’s history

By EILEEN NG | AP
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysia’s royal families will meet on January 24 to pick a new king after Sultan Muhammad V abdicated unexpectedly after just two years on the throne, an official said Monday.
The 49-year-old ruler resigned Sunday 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 while on medical leave.
Keeper of the Ruler’s Seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, said the Council of Rulers held a meeting Monday and set Jan. 24 to elect a new king. He said in a statement that the new king would be sworn in on January 31.
The council comprises nine hereditary state rulers who take turns as Malaysia’s king for five-year terms. Malaysia is the only country in the world to have a rotational monarchy under a unique system maintained since the country’s independence from Britain in 1957.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said earlier Monday that it was up to the Council of Rulers to pick the new king, but added that he hoped it would be done quickly.
During his first stint as prime minister for 22 years until his retirement in 2003, Mahathir pushed through constitutional amendments that stripped the sultans’ power to veto state and federal legislation, and curbed their legal immunity.
The monarch’s role is largely ceremonial, since administrative power is vested in the prime minister and parliament. But the monarch is highly regarded, particularly among the ethnic Malay Muslim majority, as the supreme upholder of Islam and Malay tradition.
Still, some sultans have in recent years become more active in business and politics. Sultan Muhammad V delayed Mahathir’s swearing-in as prime minister after a historic election victory in May last year, and also delayed giving his consent to the appointment of a non-Muslim attorney general.
Sultan Muhammad V was installed as king in December 2016. He was one of Malaysia’s youngest constitutional monarchs and has a love for extreme sports.
Reports in Russian and British media and on social media featured photos of his wedding with a former Miss Moscow that reportedly took place in Moscow. Neither the sultan, the palace nor the government had officially confirmed the wedding.
Speculation that Sultan Muhammad V would step down emerged last week, shortly after he returned from a two-month leave, but Mahathir had said Friday that he was unaware of any abdication plans.
National police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun warned the public Monday not to speculate on Sultan Muhammad V’s abdication. He was quoted as saying by local media that police had received several reports of provocative statements being made on social media and were investigating.
Next in line for the top job is Sultan Azlan Shah of central Pahang state, who was king from 1979 to 1984, but the 88-year-old is now unwell and didn’t attend Monday’s council meeting. Some observers said he can abdicate in favor of his son, who can become king.
After Pahang is the billionaire Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of southern Johor state, who is involved in business, owns a fleet of jets and loves Harley-Davidson motorcycles.


Preachers of Hate: Arab News launches series to expose hate-mongers from all religions

Updated 24 min 31 sec ago
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Preachers of Hate: Arab News launches series to expose hate-mongers from all religions

  • Daesh may be defeated, but the bigoted ideas that fueled their extremism live on
  • Campaign could not be more timely, with a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes since Christchurch attacks

RIYADH: Dozens of Daesh militants emerged from tunnels to surrender to Kurdish-led forces in eastern Syria on Sunday, a day after their “caliphate” was declared defeated.

Men filed out of the battered Daesh encampment in the riverside village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border to board pickup trucks. “They are fighters who came out of tunnels and surrendered today,” Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Jiaker Amed said. “Some others could still be hiding inside.”

World leaders hail Saturday’s capture of the last shred of land controlled by Daesh in Syria, but the top foreign affairs official for the semi-autonomous Kurdish region warned that Daesh captives still posed a threat.

“There are thousands of fighters, children and women and from 54 countries, not including Iraqis and Syrians, who are a serious burden and danger for us and for the international community,” Abdel Karim Omar said. “Numbers increased massively during the last 20 days of the Baghouz operation.”

 While the terrorists have a suffered a defeat, the pernicious ideologies that drive them, and the hate speech that fuels those ideologies, live on. For that reason Arab News today launches Preachers of Hate — a weekly series, published in print and online, in which we profile, contextualize and analyze extremist preachers from all religions, backgrounds and nationalities.



In the coming weeks, our subjects will include the Saudi cleric Safar Al-Hawali, the Egyptian preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the American-Israeli rabbi Meir Kahane, the Yemeni militia leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, and the US pastor Terry Jones, among others.

The series begins today with an investigation into the background of Brenton Tarrant, the Australian white supremacist who shot dead 50 people in a terrorist attack 10 days ago on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Tarrant is not just a terrorist, but is himself a Preacher of Hate, author of a ranting manifesto that attempts to justify his behavior. How did a shy, quiet boy from rural New South Wales turn into a hate-filled gunman intent on killing Muslims? The answers may surprise you.

Our series could not be more timely — anti-Muslim hate crimes in the UK have soared by almost 600 percent since the Christchurch attack, it was revealed on Sunday.

The charity Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), which records and measures anti-Muslim incidents, said almost all of the increase comprised “language, symbols or actions linked to the Christchurch attacks.”

“Cases included people making gestures of pointing a pistol at Muslim women and comments about British Muslims and an association with actions taken by the terrorist in New Zealand,” the charity said.

“The spike shows a troubling rise after Muslims were murdered in New Zealand,” said Iman Atta, director of Tell MAMA. “Figures have risen over 590 percent since New Zealand in comparison to the week just before the attack.