KUALA TERENGGANU, Terengganu: The Malaysian government hopes that the country's new king will be selected as soon as possible, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday (Jan 7).
Dr Mahathir said the election had to be expedited because he had to have an audience with the king on certain matters.
"The government accepts the decision of (the Sultan of Kelantan) Sultan Muhammad V to step down," the prime minister told reporters after opening the Terengganu office of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. "It is in accordance with the constitution."
Sultan Muhammad V stepped down as Malaysia's king on Sunday after just two years on the throne, marking a first in the country's history.
Meanwhile, the Conference of Rulers held a special meeting at Istana Negara on Monday morning to discuss the date for selecting the new king.
Six vehicles bearing the royal emblems of the royal houses of Perlis, Terengganu, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Perak and Kedah were seen entering the grounds of Istana Negara from 10am.
It is understood that the meeting lasted for more than an hour before the royal cars of the Malay rulers were seen leaving Istana Negara from 12.25pm.
An official statement will be issued on the matter soon by the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad.
Until the Conference of Rulers decides on the next king, Sultan Nazrin, who is the deputy king, will likely serve as acting king, the New Straits Times reported.
In Malaysia's constitutional monarchy system, the election for the king is held on a rotational basis every five years.
The Conference of Rulers must meet to elect a new king no later than four weeks once the position falls vacant.
According to the rotation in place, the Sultan of Pahang would be next in line.