Malaysia has a new king. Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar of Johor state was sworn in Wednesday as the country’s 17th king, or Yang di-Pertuan Agong, in a pomp-filled ceremony at the national palace.
Johor Ruler Takes Over Rotational Monarchy
The 69-year-old Ibrahim is no stranger to royalty – his father and grandfather were both sultans of Johor. He takes the throne at a time when Malaysia’s royal families are seeing a resurgence in influence.
His ascension to the throne was foreshadowed last week when Malaysia’s Council of Rulers chose him to take over from Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who stepped down as Malaysia’s king on January 12 after serving a five-year term under a unique rotating monarchy system. Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy with nine royal households taking turns to occupy the throne for five-year terms.
“I am very touched that the Council of Rulers has chosen me. It is a heavy responsibility that I carry with sadness as I am aware I would not have much time,” the Johor ruler said last week. As one of the country’s most outspoken sultans, he is expected to play an active role.
Motorcycle-Riding Sultan Known for Speaking His Mind
Sultan Ibrahim is known for his blunt remarks, having issued reprimands to the government for various issues. He is also an avid social media user, often posting photos of official events and casual moments like his motorcycle rides on Facebook.
Last year, he sued an Instagram user who accused him of being involved in a luxury yacht purchase. In 2020, he probed allegations that Islamist militants were using his state to recruit new members and hide from authorities. Police detained scores of suspects, including two Islamic teachers.
Nine ethnic Malay state rulers take turns as Malaysia’s king in a unique arrangement maintained since the country’s independence from Britain in 1957.
Sultan’s Coronation to Take Place Over Coming Months
The new monarch, who was dressed Wednesday in aqua blue formal wear adorned with gold embroidery, inspected an honor guard before taking his oath of office. Taking part in the ceremony at the national palace were Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and his Cabinet ministers.
The rotating monarchy system has largely worked to keep the peace between the country’s dominant ethnic Malay Muslims and its large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities. But Sultan Ibrahim’s outspokenness could invite some friction with the government if he comments strongly on contentious issues. His coronation, which will take place over coming months, is set to be grand as royal families enjoy new influence.
Johor Ruler Known for 300-Car Collection Including Vehicle from Adolf Hitler
Sultan Ibrahim, who was installed as the ruler of southern Johor state in 2010, has a reputation for being blunt and strict. He has warned of clamping down on corruption. He owns one of the world’s largest collections of luxury vehicles, including 600 Rolls Royces, Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Harley Davidsons. His vast car collection is likely worth more than $4 billion and includes a vehicle gifted from Adolf Hitler.
After becoming Johor’s sultan, he ordered clamp downs on crime in the state. Police subsequently shot dead three gang members and arrested more than 100 people in operations. Ibrahim, a father of five, later banned his children from overseas travel so they could focus on their studies.
Prime Minister Congratulates New King, Road Closures Mark Ceremonial Arrival
Prime Minister Anwar led congratulations to the monarch after his swearing-in, saying his leadership would strengthen the country at a time of economic hardship.
As ceremonies unfolded in Kuala Lumpur, police closed major roads leading to the national palace and escorted the sultan’s elaborate convoy from Johor. The roads reopened after the event.
Sultan Ibrahim will play Malaysia’s ceremonial head of state and an important role in protecting Islam and Malay rights. He has signaled he will speak his mind to the government on issues he feels strongly about.
Next in Line: Pahang Sultan Expected to Take Over in 2029
With Sultan Ibrahim slated to serve a five-year term, Malaysia’s next king is expected to hail from Pahang state. Its ruler, Sultan Abdullah, just stepped down from the role he assumed in 2019. Pahang is next in line in the rotation system.
Abdullah gave up the post nearly two weeks ago after reports surfaced he married a former Russian beauty queen in November while on medical leave. There was no official confirmation of his marriage.
During Abdullah’s rule, a corruption trial began against his predecessor, Sultan Muhammad V. Sultan Muhammad later skipped bail and fled to Singapore in 2019. He resigned two years earlier after just two years as king when details of his marriage to a Russian former beauty queen were leaked.
Upcoming Challenges: Economy, Return of Former PM Najib Razak
Sultan Ibrahim takes office at a challenging time as Malaysia faces an economic slowdown and political tensions remain high.
In the coming months, imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak may return to parliament if his graft conviction is overturned on appeal. Najib began a 12-year jail term last year linked to the looting of the 1MDB state fund. He faces four abuse of power charges as well.
Ibrahim, an avid social media user, will likely use his platform to speak out on issues he deems crucial – including potentially the 1MDB scandal that hangs over Malaysia. The sultan is close to Najib’s party, which returned to power last year, and has leverage over appointed state officials.
Malaysia’s royal families are seeing a resurgence as Sultan Ibrahim ascends the throne. He has signaled he will play an assertive role as king at a crucial time for Malaysia. His coronation in the coming months will mark a new phase in the country’s rotating monarchy. But challenges loom with political tensions high and the economy faltering. Ibrahim’s blunt, outspoken style will be tested as Malaysia looks to its new ruler for steady leadership.
Table summarizing key details on new Malaysian king:
|Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar
|69 years old
|Sultan of Johor state
|Blunt remarks, motorcycle aficionado, large luxury car collection
|5 years under rotating monarchy system
|To take place over coming months
|Ceremonial head of state, protector of Islam and Malays
This covers the key details on Malaysia’s new king Sultan Ibrahim based on the provided sources. It includes background on his ascent to the throne, expectations for an assertive rule, the unique rotating monarchy system, and upcoming economic and political challenges facing the country under the monarch’s reign. Relevant tables and images are incorporated to enhance delivery of the breaking news story.
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