RELIGION

Malaysia crowns new youthful king

  • Sultan Muhammad V, third from left, inspects a ceremonial guard of honor during his welcome ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan will serve a five-year term as King of Malaysia from Tuesday. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

    Sultan Muhammad V, third from left, inspects a ceremonial guard of honor during his welcome ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan will serve a five-year term as King of Malaysia from Tuesday. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)  (The Associated Press)

  • Sultan Muhammad V, right, offers prayers during his welcome ceremony at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan will serve a five-year term as King of Malaysia from Dec. 13. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

    Sultan Muhammad V, right, offers prayers during his welcome ceremony at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan will serve a five-year term as King of Malaysia from Dec. 13. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)  (The Associated Press)

  • Sultan Muhammad V walks toward his car after his welcome ceremony at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan will serve a five-year term as King of Malaysia from Dec 13. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

    Sultan Muhammad V walks toward his car after his welcome ceremony at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan will serve a five-year term as King of Malaysia from Dec 13. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)  (The Associated Press)

Malaysia's new king, a 47-year-old state sultan, ascended the throne Tuesday, becoming one of the youngest constitutional monarch in the Southeast Asian nation's history.

Sultan Muhammad V took his oath of office in a nationally televised ceremony attended by hundreds of dignitaries at a cavernous hall in Malaysia's federal palace.

Under a unique system maintained since Malaysia's independence from Britain in 1957, nine hereditary state rulers take turns as the country's king for five-year terms.

The monarch's role is largely ceremonial, since administrative power is vested in the prime minister and Parliament. But he is highly regarded, particularly among the ethnic Malay Muslim majority, as the supreme upholder of Malay tradition and symbolic head of Islam.