KUALA LUMPUR:- Malaysiainfo-icon's King Muhammad V stepped down from the throne on Sunday.

"The National Palace informs that his majesty has resigned as the 15th king effective January 6," the National Palace said in a statement. No reason for his abdication was given.

It is the first time a ruling monarch has abdicated before the end of a five-year term since Malaysia gained its independence from Britaininfo-icon in 1957.

Muhammad V was selected in October 2016 as Malaysia's head of state.

He is also the ruling sultan of Kelantan, one of Malaysia's nine states. 

Muhammad V, Malaysia's 15th king, had recently taken a leave of absence for medical reasons. Over the past weeks, rumors had surfaced in Russian and British mediainfo-icon that he had married a former Russian beauty queen. The wedding reportedly took place in Moscowinfo-icon.

The palace has not yet commented on the rumors.

Malaysia has an elective constitutional monarchy at the national level. The king, or Yang di-Pertuan Agong, is elected every five years by a council of state rulers, or whenever a vacancy occurs. Only state rulers, all members of centuries-old Islamic families, are eligible to rule the country as king.