Malaysia gets a new king, Sultan Ibrahim of Johor state


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia installed Sultan Ibrahim from the southern state of Johor as the country’s new king in a televised swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Sultan Ibrahim, 65, succeeds Al-Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, as the 17th Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Ahmad Shah will be returning to lead his home state of Pahang after completing his five-year tenure as king.

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Malaysia practices a unique form of monarchy, where the country’s nine sultans take turns to be king every five years.

The last time a Sultan from the state of Johor was on the throne of Malaysia in the late 1980s, the country was embroiled in a constitutional crisis as then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sought to clip the wings of the judiciary.

Now, as the current Johor Sultan becomes king, Malaysia is facing a corruption crackdown which has ensnared some of the most prominent political personalities of the Mahathir era, speculation of a pardon for disgraced former Prime Minister Najib Razak and continued political manoeuvring as part of a realignment that began in 2018, said a news report by Al Jazeera.

While the king is a constitutional monarch who acts as the head of state and commander of the armed forces, the upheaval that followed the historic election in 2018 – when the once-dominant United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) was defeated for the first time since independence – has seen the monarch playing a more prominent role in the country’s politics.

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Married with six children, Sultan Ibrahim is one of Malaysia’s wealthiest men with interests in internet services to property, including a stake in the troubled China-backed Forest City project.

Known for his annual road trip around Johor to meet the state’s people – conducted one year from a custom-made Mack truck – he has a passion for fast cars and aircraft.

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