Malaysia names Sultan Ibrahim as next king

By Reuters   October 26, 2023 | 11:57 pm PT
Malaysia names Sultan Ibrahim as next king
Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of Johor walk together after the election for the next Malaysian king at the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur on October 27, 2023. Photo via Reuters
Malaysia's royal families elected the powerful and outspoken Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar from the southern state of Johor to be the country's next king.

The king plays a largely ceremonial role in Malaysia, but the monarchy has become more influential in recent years due to prolonged political instability that has prompted the incumbent king to wield rarely used discretionary powers.

Malaysia has a unique system in which the heads of its nine royal families take turns to be monarch for a five-year term. The Southeast Asian country is a parliamentary democracy, with the monarch serving as head of state.

Sultan Ibrahim will take over from current King Al-Sultan Abdullah on Jan. 31, 2024, the keeper of the rulers' seal said in a statement on Friday.

Unlike other traditional Malaysian rulers, Sultan Ibrahim has been outspoken about politics and has said he has a good relationship with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

The sultan, who is known to have a big collection of luxury cars and motorcycles, has wide-ranging business interests from real estate to mining.

King Al-Sultan played an unusually active role in Malaysian politics, picking the country's last three prime ministers.

The federal constitution grants the monarch only a few discretionary powers, with the king largely required to act upon the advice of the prime minister and cabinet.

It also allows the king to appoint a prime minister who he believes has a parliamentary majority, a power never utilized until 2020, as the premier is typically picked through an election.

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