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.