Malaysia’s king Sultan Muhammad V unexpectedly abdicates after 'marrying 25-year-old former Russian beauty queen'

Malaysian King Sultan Muhammad V Credit: Yam G-Jun/AP

Malaysian King Sultan Muhammad V has abdicated after just two years on the throne.

The palace said in a statement that the 49-year-old Sultan Muhammad V had resigned with immediate effect, cutting short his five-year term. No reason was given in the statement.

It is the first abdication in Malaysia’s history.

Sultan Muhammad V, ruler of north-east Kelantan state, was installed in December 2016 as one of Malaysia’s youngest constitutional monarchs.

He is said to have married a 25-year-old former Russian beauty queen in November. The reports in Russian and British media and on social media featured pictures of the wedding, which reportedly took place in Moscow.

Under a unique system maintained since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957, nine hereditary state rulers take turns as king for five-year terms.