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Malaysia's outgoing king wants govt stability, bigger role for future monarchs

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's King Al-Sultan Abdullah has called for government stability, warning that the country risked losing investors and falling behind its competitors due to prolonged political turmoil.

In a rare, wide-ranging interview with local and foreign media this month, Al-Sultan Abdullah - who will step down from the throne on Tuesday (Jan 30) - also proposed future monarchs play a larger role representing Malaysia in international affairs.

The monarchy plays a mostly ceremonial role in Malaysia and is largely seen as above politics.

But political instability during Al-Sultan Abdullah's reign has seen the monarchy's influence grow, with the king wielding rarely used discretionary powers to appoint the country's last three prime ministers.

The heads of Malaysia's nine royal families take turns to be king every five years, under a unique system of monarchy.

Al-Sultan Abdullah, who ascended the throne in 2019, will return to lead his home state of Pahang, while Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar of Johor will be crowned the next king in a coronation ceremony on Wednesday.

In unusually frank remarks, Al-Sultan Abdullah expressed disappointment with Malaysia's warring political parties, saying that frequent changes in government administration and policies could jeopardise economic progress.

"Foreign investors want to see a country that's stable, that they can invest in and maximise their returns on quickly. If we are always changing governments...this will cause delays."

"We need to remain competitive otherwise we will be left behind...we cannot afford to have an unstable government."

Al-Sultan Abdullah expressed hope that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's administration would last its full five-year term so that it can