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The palace has also said that the king is preparing to return home to the state of Kelantan.

Speculation intensified about the king's future after his medical leave officially finished at the end of December, and the country's Islamic royals reportedly held a special meeting last week.

Sultan Muhammad V studied at St Cross College at Oxford and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

The royal families of Malaysia have announced plans to replace their 49-year-old ruler who abdicated this morning.

Malaysia's Islamic rulers will now meet to decide on the next king. The sultan was the ruler of the northern state of Kelantan and his resignation is the first time a monarch has stepped down before completing the five-year tenure.

The January 6 announcement did not provide a reason for the King's decision to step down from the largely ceremonial position, in which he had served only two of his five-year term.

"His Majesty hopes that all Malaysians will continue to stay united, tolerant and in agreement in shouldering the responsibility to safeguard the country's sovereignty so that Malaysia will remain in peace and harmony", he said. "The King would like to offer his thanks to all the state Rulers for selecting him as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong".

The king stepped aside Sunday following intense speculation about his future after reports surfaced in recent weeks that he had taken medical leave, and then Wednesday the former Miss Moscow.

After Pahang is the billionaire Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of southern Johor state, who is involved in business, owns a fleet of jets and loves Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu today urged people to stop making statements regarding Malay Rulers.

Ms Voevodina, who is from the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, described her young self as a "bandit" who liked skates and bikes, and boys who took part in these competitions, reported British tabloid Daily Mail.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who had a tense relationship with the royals during his first stint as premier from 1981 to 2003 as he sought to curb their powers, said the government accepted Muhammad V´s abdication, official news agency Bernama reported.