What makes His Majesty the XIVth Yang Di Pertuan Agong, Almu’ tasimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Alhaj Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah stand out is the fact that this is the second time His Majesty has served as Malaysia’s King. Tuanku Abdul Halim (to use the shorter version of the King’s name) is the only Ruler in Malaysia, and probably the world, who can claim this honour, which is made possible by Malaysia’s unique system of elective, rotational, monarchy.
Tuanku Abdul Halim was first elected as Agong by his fellow Rulers in 1970, becoming Malaysia’s fifth King after Independence, serving from1970 to 1975. In 2011, after all other Malay rulers had had their turn, Tuanku Abdul Halim was elected for another five-years.
Installed on 13th December 2011, His Majesty is Malaysia’s 14th King after Independence and, at the age of 84, the oldest Ruler to become King. Born on 28th November, 1927, His Majesty Tuanku Abdul Halim has ruled the Northern State of Kedah for almost 56 years, becoming Sultan in 1958 after the passing of his father. The King is an avid golfer and sports fan and is known for his kindness and even temperament.
Once, when his motorcade was caught in traffic, he walked more than a mile to the stadium to offer support to his state football team. Needless to say, he was the toast of Kedah after that! An animal lover, The King has a mini zoo at the Anak Bukit Palace, Kedah, for all his pets. When residing in Kedah, he makes it a point to see his animals every day and his love for them is renowned. On one occasion, His Majesty forbade his zookeeper from throwing breadcrumbs to the fish in the palace pond. The King insisted that the breadcrumbs be placed instead in the palm of the hand and gently lowered into the water so that the fish could feed from it. This technique, His Majesty informed his zookeeper, shows care and respect for the fish while at the same time training obedience in them.
The King being honoured by the Armed Forces in the Trooping the Colour Ceremony on his birthday
The King in uniform, being briefed on a youth project in a state visit to Perak in 1972
The Official Birthday of Malaysia’s King, as determined by the Federal Government, always falls on the first Saturday in June. This makes the King’s Birthday this year, the 7th of June. Celebrations will be held throughout the country from 5th to 13th June and will include the King conferring awards on individuals in recognition of their services to the country.
Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia’s second Prime Minister and Toh Puan Rahah welcoming the newly installed King to Parliament for a tea party attended by 2,000 local and foreign dignitaries
Events open to the public are the Reading of the Yassin and the Doa Selamat (Invocation for the Blessings of Allah upon His Majesty) at the National Mosque, at 7pm on 5th June; and a Special Friday Prayer and Sermon in conjunction with His Majesty’s Birthday at the Putra Mosque, Putrajaya, at 1.15 pm on 6th June.
Malaysia’s Constitutional Monarchy
The office of the Yang Di Pertuan Agong was established in 1957, and was an idea mooted by Malaysia’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, who suggested that the kingship system be rotational, borrowing the idea from the state of Negeri Sembilan where chiefs from all original nine regions took turns becoming the ruler of the state. Hence, the hereditary Malay Rulers of the nine states within Peninsula Malaysia take turns becoming the King for a term of five years on a rotational basis.
The selection of the King occurs at the Conference of Rulers through the casting of a secret ballot. To become King, a ruler would need to obtain at least four votes. Initially, the election of the King was based on seniority, that is, each Ruler’s years on their throne.
Malaysia’s first King was His Majesty Paduka Sri Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad, the Ruler of Negeri Sembilan who was elected on 3rd August, 1957. The face of His Majesty Tuanku Abdul Rahman appears on Malaysia’s currency, the first series of which was issued in 1967.
The new ISTANA NEGARA (National Palace) is located at Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur and sits on 97.65 hectares. At the Main Gate is a beautiful arch and on each of its sides is found a guard post manned by a member of the Mounted Ceremonial Squadron. They are known as the Royal Mounted Guards and their uniform is similar to the guards at Buckingham Palace. The Changing of the Mounted Guards takes place every hour from 8am to 3pm. A popular spot with tourists, the Main Gate area is the only unrestricted area of the complex and is open for public viewing. For more details call: 03 6200 1000.