Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar Elected as Malaysia's Next King

  • 30 Oct 2023

In a recent development, the royal families of Malaysia have elected Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar from Johor as the country's future king.

  • Sultan Ibrahim, known for his outspoken views on politics and extensive business interests, is set to take over as the monarch from the current King Al-Sultan Abdullah on January 31, 2024.

Key Points

  • Ceremonial Role: Malaysia's monarchy holds a predominantly ceremonial role, but it has gained influence in recent years due to ongoing political instability, leading the incumbent king to exercise rarely used discretionary powers.
  • Monarchy in Malayasia: Malaysia operates under a unique system where its nine royal families take turns serving as the monarch for five-year terms. The country follows a parliamentary democracy, with the monarch serving as the head of state.
  • Knowing the King: Sultan Ibrahim's open engagement in politics and his reported good relationship with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim set him apart from other traditional rulers.
  • The sultan is also known for his substantial collection of luxury vehicles and diverse business interests, spanning real estate and mining.
  • King Al-Sultan Abdullah played an unusually active role in Malaysian politics, directly contributing to the selection of the country's last three prime ministers.
  • Power of King: The federal constitution confines the monarch's discretionary powers, usually requiring the king to act based on the advice of the prime minister and cabinet.
  • However, it grants the king the authority to appoint a prime minister with a parliamentary majority, a power that was unused until 2020.
  • The monarch also holds the power to grant pardons to convicted individuals. In 2018, Al-Sultan's predecessor, Sultan Muhammad V, pardoned Anwar Ibrahim, who was then imprisoned on politically motivated sodomy and corruption charges.