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
0

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.
 


Sri Lanka churches halt public services over security fears

Updated 44 min 50 sec ago
0

Sri Lanka churches halt public services over security fears

  • Potential bombers ‘at large’ as death toll lowered to 253
  • Muslims asked to shun Friday prayer

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Catholic churches suspended all public services over security fears on Thursday, as thousands of troops joined the hunt for suspects in deadly Easter bombings.

A senior priest said that all public services were being suspended and all churches closed “on the advice of security forces.”

Authorities revised the death toll down to 253, from the previous figure of 359, explaining that some of the badly mutilated bodies had been double-counted.

The father of two of the suspected bombers has been arrested on suspicion of aiding his sons.

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said suspects remained at large and could have access to explosives. Some of the suspects “may go out for a suicide attack,” Wickremesinghe said.

Hundreds of Ahmadi refugees in western Sri Lanka have taken refuge in mosques and a police station after facing intimidation following the bombings. Scores of Ahmadis who settled in Negombo after fleeing persecution in their home countries have been thrown out of their accommodation by landlords.

Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando resigned on Thursday over security failures. He submitted a letter of resignation to President Maithripala Sirisena.

Britain’s Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka.

“The horrific attack is a demonstration of how tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) that originated in this island nation several decades ago returned to haunt a shocked and broken government thanks to a complete collapse of counterterrorism capability or capacity,” Dr. Theodore Karasik, a security expert, writes in an opinion piece.

Hate preacher Zahran Hashim, head of the National Thowheeth Jama’ath group that is being blamed for the attacks, developed a reputation as a preacher who “copied” Daesh propaganda videos to enhance his posts via the pro-Daesh Al-Ghuraba media channel, which used Facebook and YouTube as its primary platforms, Karasik says. 

Sri Lanka’s Islamic affairs minister, M. H. M. Haleem, asked all Muslims to avoid prayers on Friday for security reasons. He also said it would be a mark of respect for those who perished in the nation’s worst violence in years.

Politician and Western Province Gov. Azath Salley told Arab News that the blasts were orchestrated by a handful of extremists and that the island’s Muslim population could not be held responsible for their “deviant” actions.