KUALA LUMPUR – The Sultan of Pahang, Tengku Abdullah, was named on Thursday as the 16th King of Malaysia, after Sultan Muhammad V unexpectedly abdicated earlier this month.
The country’s nine sultans met at Istana Negara palace in Kuala Lumpur and voted in favor of Abdullah, according to a statement by Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad.
The Sultan of Pahang will be sworn in as king for the next five years on Jan. 31.
Abdullah, 59, is the fourth child and eldest son of Sultan Ahmad Shah, 88, who appointed his son as the regent of the Sultanate of Pahang due to his deteriorating health.
On Jan. 15, Abdullah was proclaimed the Sultan of Pahang, facilitating his appointment to the Malaysian throne.
A council member of both the ASEAN Football Federation and of soccer’s international governing body FIFA, Abdullah is an avid lover of sports, including soccer and polo, which he played during his student days at England.
Under Malaysian law, the king is elected from among nine sultans on a rotational basis every five years.
On Jan. 6, Muhammad V, Sultan of Kelantan, the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong – Malaysia’s head of state- unexpectedly stepped down without giving any reasons after two years on the throne.
The king’s resignation followed his marriage to 25-year-old Russian beauty queen Oksana Voevodina in a ceremony in Moscow in Nov. 2018.
The king, the Commander-in-Chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces, represents the country at official events and is revered as the patriarch of the Malay ethnic group by Malay Muslims, who represent 60 percent of the country’s population.
The Sultans’ lineage dates back to Malay Sultans of the 15th century.