Malaysia put in an outspoken motorcycle-riding king on Wednesday in an elaborate ceremony steeped in centuries of custom, with the billionaire decided to play a key function in making certain political stability.
Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar’s new place is basically ceremonial however has in recent times featured closely within the nation’s fractured political panorama.
In addition to overseeing main political appointments, the king serves because the official head of Islam within the Muslim-majority nation and commander-in-chief of its armed forces.
Bloomberg estimates that Sultan Ibrahim and his household, rulers of southern Johor state, are price at the least $5.7 billion, together with land in Singapore and investments in varied firms together with in palm oil, actual property and telecommunications.
Wearing royal blue ceremonial apparel, the 65-year-old on Wednesday took the oath of workplace in a standard ceremony on the nationwide palace within the capital Kuala Lumpur.
“With this oath, I solemnly and truly profess to be faithful, to rule fairly for Malaysia in accordance with the laws and the constitution,” Sultan Ibrahim mentioned throughout a nationally televised occasion attended by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and different ruling elite.
Sultan Ibrahim was chosen final 12 months by the nation’s royalty to be the following head of state, and a coronation ceremony shall be held in a number of months.
Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with a novel association that sees the throne change hands each 5 years among the many rulers of 9 Malaysian states headed by centuries-old Islamic royalty.
But whereas mainly ceremonial, the place of king has in recent times performed an more and more vital function.
Royal intervention has been wanted to call prime ministers thrice following the collapse of governments and a post-election hung parliament in recent times.
In an interview with Singapore’s The Straits Times in December, Ibrahim mentioned he was not eager on changing into a “puppet king.”
“There are 222 of you (lawmakers) in Parliament. There are over 30 million (population) outside. I’m not with you, I’m with them,” he was quoted as saying within the broadsheet.
“I will support the government, but if I think they are doing something improper, I will tell them,” he mentioned.
The king additionally wields the facility to pardon. In 2018, Sultan Muhammad V, considered one of Ibrahim’s predecessors, pardoned Anwar, who had served a jail sentence for sodomy.
The function of king in Malaysia carries appreciable status, significantly among the many nation’s Malay Muslim majority.
Criticism deemed to incite contempt of the king may end up in jail time.
Sultan Ibrahim, who is of Malay-British descent, belongs to the rich and highly effective Johor royal household, the pinnacle of which instructions a small non-public military.
He has an in depth relationship with Anwar and has been outspoken about Malaysian politics and corruption.
Sultan Ibrahim is seen as a spiritual reasonable. In 2017, he ordered a launderette proprietor to apologise for allegedly discriminating in opposition to non-Muslims.
Married with six youngsters, he has previously made annual journeys round Johor on a Harley-Davidson bike, handing out charity to the poor.
He additionally has vital enterprise pursuits, together with a stake in Forest City, a $100 billion improvement undertaking off the coast of Johor.
The social media-savvy king has an enormous assortment of luxurious and sports activities automobiles in addition to non-public jets. He additionally performs polo and is a military, navy and air pressure officer who studied overseas within the United States.
The final time a Johor sultan turned king was 39 years in the past when Sultan Ibrahim’s father, Sultan Iskandar was proclaimed Malaysia’s eighth king in 1984.