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Billionaire Sultan Ibrahim Sworn in as Malaysia’s 17th King – Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar | – Times of India

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In a significant transition marked by tradition and modernity, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar was sworn in as Malaysia’s 17th king, bringing his unique blend of business acumen, forthrightness, and cultural heritage to the forefront of the nation’s ceremonial monarchy.
Sultan Ibrahim took the reins from Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang state, whose tenure was marked by challenging times, navigating through the complexities of Covid-19 lockdowns and a phase of political unrest.
As the ruler of Johor state ascends the throne, he embodies a pivotal moment in Malaysia’s unique rotating monarchy system, heralding a new chapter in the nation’s narrative of governance, tradition, and progress.
Who is Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar?

  • At 65, Sultan Ibrahim is a dynamic royal known for his passion for motorcycle rides, driving Ferraris, and engaging with followers on Instagram.
  • Sultan Ibrahim is not only known for his royal lineage but also for his extensive business empire, which includes investments in real estate, telecoms, and power plants.
  • He is one of the country’s richest individuals and has a high corporate profile, including a significant stake in the multibillion-dollar Forest City development project.
  • Despite his wealth, he has been candid about his earnings, famously stating that he needs to “earn a living, like ordinary Malaysians,” and cannot solely depend on his state allowance.
  • Sultan Ibrahim, whose mother is English, takes annual road trips on his motorbike to meet the people in his state.
  • Just this Wednesday, he made a notable entrance, traveling from Johor to Kuala Lumpur aboard his own gold-and-blue Boeing 737 private jet.
  • His wealth extends beyond this, boasting a remarkable array of jets, an impressive collection of cars and motorcycles, and numerous properties overseas. Uniquely, Sultan Ibrahim stands as the sole ruler to command a private army, a distinctive agreement secured during Johor’s integration into contemporary Malaysia.
  • Bloomberg estimates Sultan Ibrahim and his family, rulers of southern Johor state, are worth at least $5.7 billion, including land in Singapore and investments in various companies including in palm oil, real estate and telecommunications.

Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, center left in front, signs documents during the oath taking ceremony as the Malaysia’s 17th king.

What are the roles and powers of the king in Malaysia

  • In Malaysia’s distinctive monarchy system, leadership rotates among the heads of the nation’s nine royal families, with each reigning as the King, or “Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” for a term of five years.
  • While the king, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, primarily holds ceremonial duties, the role carries significant influence, especially as a symbol of unity and protector of Islam and Malay tradition.
  • The king is the nominal head of the government and armed forces, and all laws, Cabinet appointments, and the dissolution of Parliament require his assent.
  • Although the king’s role is predominantly ceremonial, it holds crucial responsibilities, notably in determining the government’s leadership in instances where no single party secures a majority. Sultan Ibrahim’s predecessor exercised this pivotal duty on three occasions, with the most recent being in the aftermath of the nation’s inaugural hung parliament in 2022.
  • He also has the authority to proclaim emergencies and pardon criminals. Sultan Ibrahim has expressed his intent to be an active monarch, focusing on issues like fighting corruption and promoting unity.
  • The king also has the power to pardon convicted people. In 2018, the then-monarch Sultan Muhammad V pardoned Anwar, who was imprisoned on sodomy and corruption charges that he says were politically motivated.

Despite the role being largely ceremonial, new king’s proactive stance and involvement in business and political discussions suggest that he intends to be an influential figure during his reign. His ability to command a private army, his vast collection of luxury vehicles and jets, and his annual motorcycle road trips to connect with people reflect a monarch with a unique blend of tradition and modernity.
(With inputs from agencies)

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