New Malaysian king sworn in 

Abdullah was escorted to a welcoming ceremony at parliament where the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhamad. (AFP)
Updated 31 January 2019

New Malaysian king sworn in 

  • Previous king abdicated in Malaysian first
  • New king known for his love of sports

KUALA LUMPUR: Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah was sworn in as the new king of Malaysia on Thursday, following the surprise abdication of the previous monarch.

Abdullah was chosen after a meeting last week by the country’s Conference of Rulers. 

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy based on a power-sharing tradition, where nine sultans rule their states but take turns to serve as king for a five-year term.

The system has been in place since Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957.

Clad in an aqua-colored traditional Malay outfit and headdress, the new king flew from the royal palace in Pahang state with his wife and arrived at the Bunga Raya Complex at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

He was escorted to a welcoming ceremony at parliament where the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhamad and his deputy, Wan Azizah, were present.

The royal guards gave a 21-gun salute to welcome the new king’s arrival.

Abdullah was sworn in as Malaysia’s 16th king in front of cabinet ministers and the Conference of Rulers. 

He has kept a low profile in politics and is better known for his love of sports, particularly polo, golf and football.

The 59-year old is a council member of FIFA and the ASEAN Football Federation.

He has also been president of the Football Association of Malaysia.

Last year he suggested that Southeast Asian nations should co-host the FIFA World Cup in 2034.

The Malaysian king is seen as the head of state and a symbol of Malay culture, Islam and political stability.

Malaysia’s previous monarch Muhammad V of Kelantan state resigned from his throne earlier this month — a first in the country’s history.
 


Families grieve after Kabul wedding blast

An Afghan man mourns during the funeral of his brother after a bomb exploded at a wedding hall killing 63 people and injuring 200 others. (Reuters)
Updated 41 min 9 sec ago

Families grieve after Kabul wedding blast

  • Bride’s relatives, members of music band among victims of Daesh attack

KABUL: Mirwais Elmi’s special night soon became a bloodbath after a suicide bomber detonated explosives in the hotel hall where his wedding ceremony was taking place, killing more than 63 people and injuring 200 others in Kabul on Sunday. Elmi and his bride, who were in separate areas of the venue, survived the blast. The explosion took place just before dinner was to be served to the nearly 1,000 guests who had gathered in the southwest of the city.
The local Daesh affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack Speaking to a private TV channel on Sunday, a shaken Elmi was unable to describe the carnage that took place.
“I am not a groom today, my family, my friends are all in grief,” Elmi, who is in his early 20s and works as a tailor, said.
He added that he never thought “such an incident would happen during my wedding party.”
As survivors buried victims of the attack, an infant’s milk bottle and an invitation card could be seen near one of the hotel’s walls, badly damaged by the blast.
The attack comes as the US and Taliban close in on a peace deal which would lead to the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, nearly 18 years after the Taliban were ousted. The group immediately distanced themselves from the attack and strongly condemned it.
Elmi’s father-in-law lost 14 members of his family, while another man lost three of his sons, four nephews and five of his aunt’s grandchildren, according to survivor accounts.
“My family and my bride are in shock, they cannot speak. My bride keeps fainting. I lost my brother, I lost my friends, I lost my relatives. I will never see happiness in my life again,” he said. All five members of the wedding’s music band were killed. The groom and bride’s families, like many of those attending the ceremony, belonged to poor families.  
None of the guests were government officials sought by Daesh or other militant groups.

Government leaders live behind heavily protected compounds, drive in armored vehicles and have their families living abroad, but we ordinary Afghans are suffering routinely.

Ghulam Hussien Nasiri, Lawmaker

Many of the victims were children and young men. The hotel had no guards and guests were not body searched, according to survivors.
Shi’ite cultural centers and an anti-government protest have all recently come under attack, but Sunday’s wedding blast was the first of its kind, evoking a reaction from President Ashraf Ghani. He blamed Daesh for the incident. “I strongly condemn the inhumane attack on the wedding hall in Kabul. My top priority for now is to reach out to the families of victims of this barbaric attack. On behalf of the nation, I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were martyred. “The Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame, for they provide a platform for terrorists,” he tweeted.
Ghulam Hussien Nasiri, a lawmaker, said the attack exposed the government’s weakness.
“Government leaders live behind heavily protected compounds, drive in armored vehicles and have their families living abroad, but we ordinary Afghans are suffering routinely,” he told Arab News.