Malaysia's New King, the Sultan of Johor, Starts His Reign on January 31, 2024

Malaysia New King Sultan of Johor 

King Frederik X of Denmark is not the only monarch in the world who started his reign this month, somewhere in Southeast Asia, the Sultan of Johor, Ibrahim Iskandar, will also begin his reign on January 31, 2024, as the new King and Head of State of Malaysia. 

Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar will be the 17th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, translated in English as King of Malaysia. 

He will officially succeed his brother-in-law, the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, His Majesty King Abdullah (the Sultan of Pahang), who will end his five-year term on January 31.

Sultan of Johor is new King of Malaysia
Incoming Malaysian King, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of Johor, and his younger sister, Queen Azizah, posed for photograph before the image of their father who once served Malaysia as King 

Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar and King Abdullah's wife, Queen Azizah, are siblings. Queen Azizah was born Princess Azizah Iskandar of Johor.

Outgoing King of Malaysia
King Abdullah and his wife, Queen Azizah send thanks to the people of Malaysia. Photo credit: Istana_Negara

Malaysia is an elective monarchy. Since gaining independence from Britain in 1957, Malaysia has embraced a monarchical system in which the king is elected on a rotating basis every five years by the hereditary sultans of nine states.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong or King of Malaysia is elected by the Conference of Rulers, composed of the nine rulers of the Malay states, with the office de facto rotated between them.

Outgoing King of Malaysia
King Abdullah of Malaysia and Sultan of Pahang. Photo credit: Istana_Negara

Nine ethnic Malay state rulers take turns serving as Malaysia’s king for a five-year term under the world’s only such system, which has been maintained since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957. 

The nine ethnic Malay states: Johor, Kedah. Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, Terengganu, Negeri, and Perlis. 

The new King of Malaysia, formally known as the 17th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, is also the 5th Sultan of Johor, who succeeded his father in 2010.

On 27 October 2023, he was elected to a five-year term as Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia with his tenure expected to start on 31 January 2024.

Outgoing King of Malaysia

The Malaysian government held a send-off ceremony steeped in Malay traditions and customs for the outgoing King of Malaysia, Al-Sultan Abdullah, and his wife, Queen Azizah.

Outgoing King of Malaysia
The outgoing King and Queen of Malaysia. Photo credit: Istana_Negara

Al-Sultan Abdullah, 64, who took the oath of office as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Jan 31, 2019, and Queen Azizah left the Istana Negara, accompanied by the Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry (MITI), Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, as the minister in attendance. 

The sending-off ceremony carried over from the Istana Negara (the official residence of the King of Malaysia), to Parliament Square, ending at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where Their Majesties will board a plane back to the state of Pahang.

Outgoing King of Malaysia
King Abdullah and Queen Azizah of Malaysia. Photo credit: Istana_Negara

Al-Sultan Abdullah was proclaimed the sixth Sultan of Pahang on Jan 15, 2019,  to succeed his then-ailing father, Sultan Ahmad Shah Al-Musta'in Billah, who died on May 22, 2019. He was elected as King of Malaysia on January 31, 2019.

Outgoing King of Malaysia
King Abdullah and Queen Azizah of Malaysia with the newlyweds Prince Mateen of Brunei and Anisha Rosnah. Photo credit: Istana_Negara

He attended the wedding of Prince Mateen of Brunei and Anisha Rosnah, which would be his last overseas travel as Malaysia's head of state.

Outgoing King of Malaysia
The King and Queen of Malaysia joined other Crown Heads in Asia (with Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei in front) for the wedding of Prince Mateen of Brunei. Photo credit: Istana_Negara

During his reign, we've seen King Abdullah attend many royal events overseas including the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, the Coronation of King Charles III in May 2023, and two royal weddings - Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan in June 2023 and Prince Mateen of Brunei this month.

King Frederik X of Denmark
Photo credit: Istana_Negara

King Abdullah and Queen Azizah also congratulated the newly ascended King of Denmark, Frederik X, and Queen Mary on January 14, 2024.

New Malaysian King

Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar was born on November 22, 1958. He became the 5th Sultan of Johor upon the death of his father in 2010. His father was also elected as King of Malaysia from 1984 to 1989.

He was the third child and eldest son of Sultan Iskandar by his first wife, Josephine Ruby Trevorrow, a British woman whom Sultan Iskandar met while he was studying in Britain. They divorced in 1961 and Trevorrow went back to Britain and remarried.

Sultan Ibrahim of Johor
Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of Johor, the new King of Malaysia

Sultan Ibrahim was crowned as the Sultan of Johor on 23 March 2015. The last coronation was that of his grandfather Sultan Ismail on 10 February 1960. 

A motorcycle enthusiast, Sultan Ibrahim is the founder of the annual motorcycling tour event, Kembara Mahkota Johor. According to Bloomberg, he is a billionaire and one of the richest men in Malaysia. 

Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of Johor
The new King and Queen of Malaysia. Their Majesties King Ibrahim Iskandar and Queen Zarith Sofiah

Sultan Ibrahim seems to be more hands-on than other rulers, which can be seen in his direct criticisms on certain issues,” Tunku Mohar Mokhtar, an assistant professor at the International Islamic University Malaysia, told BenarNews.

He is married to Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah (born in 1959). She is a member of the Perak royal family as the second daughter of Sultan Idris Shah II of Perak and Raja Perempuan Muzwin binti Raja Arif Shah. 

Sultan Ibrahim of Johor
Crown Prince Ismail of Johor

Raja Zarith obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford in 1983 and her Master of Arts in 1986. She is a children's book illustrator. In addition to Malay and English, she speaks Mandarin Chinese, Italian, and French.

They have six children and their eldest son, Crown Prince Ismail of Johor will act as Regent of Johor while his father is King of Malaysia. He is a major general in the Royal Johor Military Force.

Monarchy in Malaysia

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia and is a federal constitutional monarchy consisting of 13 states and three federal territories.

Federal Territories: Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, Putrajaya. The 13 states are Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang,Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Terengganu.

Out of these 13 states, nine are hereditary or crowned states based on historical Malay kingdoms. Each Malay state has a hereditary ruler as the titular head of state and an executive Chief Minister. 

King Abdullah and Queen Azizah
The outgoing King of Malaysia, His Majesty Sultan Abdullah, and his wife, Queen Azizah. Photo credit: Istana_Negara

The rulers of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, and Terengganu are styled Sultans. Negeri Sembilan's elective ruler holds the title of Yamtuan Besar, whereas the ruler of Perlis is titled Raja. 

The federal head of state, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (commonly referred to as "King" in English) is elected (de facto rotated) among the nine rulers to serve a 5-year term.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is elected by and among the nine rulers (excluding minors) every five years or when a vacancy arises (by death, resignation, or deposition by majority vote of the rulers). 

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong serves a maximum of five years, and may not be re-elected until after all the other states have taken their turns. 

Sultan of Johor is new King of Malaysia
Queen Azizah hugged her older brother, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of Johor, upon his election in October 2023 as the next King of Malaysia. Her husband, the outgoing King of Malaysia, Sultan Abdullah of Pahang, looked on

When the office was established in 1957, the order of seniority of the rulers was based on the length of their reigns on the state thrones. When the first cycle of rotation was completed in 1994, the order of the states in the first cycle became the basis of the order for the second cycle.

Former British settlements and crown colonies of Penang and Malacca (both peninsular), and Sabah and Sarawak (both in Borneo) each have a titular Governor (styled Yang di-Pertua Negeri) appointed by the King of Malaysia, and an executive Chief Minister, except for Sarawak whose head of government is styled 'Premier'.

The political system of Malaysia is based on the Westminster parliamentary system in the United Kingdom in combination with the features of a federation.

Seven are hereditary monarchies based on agnatic primogeniture: Kedah, Kelantan, Johor, Perlis, Pahang, Selangor and Terengganu. In Perak, the throne rotates among three branches of the royal family loosely based on agnatic seniority. 

One state, Negeri Sembilan, is an elective monarchy where in the ruler is elected from male members of the royal family by hereditary chiefs. 

All rulers, except those of Perlis and of Negeri Sembilan, use the title of Sultan. The ruler of Perlis is styled as Raja, whereas the ruler of Negeri Sembilan is known as the Yang di-Pertuan Besar.

Every five years or when a vacancy occurs, the rulers convene as the Conference of Rulers to elect among themselves the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or King (the federal constitutional monarch and head of state of Malaysia). 


Each of the nine rulers serves as the head of state of his own state, as well as the head of the religion of Islam in his state. 

As with other constitutional monarchs around the world, the rulers do not participate in the actual governance of their states; instead, each of them is bound by convention to act on the advice of the head of government of his state, known as Menteri Besar. 

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the federal head of state. His symbolic roles include being the Commander-in-Chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces and carrying out diplomatic functions such as receiving foreign diplomats and representing Malaysia on state visits. 

Post a Comment