Long live the Agong

Izzat RatnaFriday, April 21, 2017
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All attention will be focused on Istana Negara at Jalan Duta in Kuala Lumpur this Monday as Malaysians celebrate the installation of the country’s 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V. 

The ceremony will be held at Istana Negara this Monday (pic by Muhd Amin Naharul/TMR)

The ceremony — which could also be witnessed live on the country’s main television networks — would again remind the world of how richly entrenched Malaysia is in tradition, as it also represents the sanctity of the monarch’s rule through the ages. 

It is not just about welcoming a new ruler, the installation is also a glimpse of all the associated customs and traditions of the Malays that goes back almost a millennia. 

Since 1957, the rite has been a part of Malaysian history, with 14 such ceremonies held — first at the prime minister’s residential function hall at Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur and at Istana Negara from 1980 onwards. 

The old Istana — located at Jalan Istana in Kuala Lumpur — hosted its final installation in 2007, before the brand new Istana Negara became the new venue in 2012. 

The ceremony is a hybrid of ceremonies found in eight of Malaysia’s nine royal states, which all have one similarity — all do not use a crown. Instead, a special headdress known as the “Tengkolok Diraja” (Royal Headdress) is used, except in Johor where the Sultan is crowned (as the state government is heavily British-influenced). 

The installation ceremony will also showcase a myriad of royal regalia, the protocols, the accompaniments including the nobat (royal music) ensemble and their instruments. 

The itinerary has been meticulously planned for an assembly of dignitaries that will grace the grand event bedecked in ceremonial dresses. 

Universiti Malaysia Perlis Prof Datuk Dr Ramlah Adam said in a Bernama report that the installation provides the country with a legitimate head of state, with his duties and responsibilities as specified under the Constitution. 

“The Agong is the head of state, the field marshal, the head of Islam in states without monarchs and his own state, like specified under the Constitution. 

“Hence, there has to be a majestic and grandeur installation ceremony that befits his position as the supreme leader of the nation,” she said. 

Sultan Muhammad V is the appellation for Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra who ascended the throne as the 29th Sultan of Kelantan on Sept 13, 2010. He was first installed as the Tengku Mahkota Kelantan on Oct 6, 1985. 

As the Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V is revered as a monarch who always has his people at heart, with many of his deeds going viral on social media. 

For instance, during the 2014 massive floods that affected more than 100,000 people in Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V had made an unannounced visit to Kuala Krai, which surprised the flood victims.

He was also spotted in different locations aiding flood victims in Kelantan without any formal protocol officers with him.

In some cases, even the people were not aware of His Majesty’s presence, as he had dressed as a layman while aiding the flood victims. 

Later after a two-year wait, 38 victims of the floods of 2014 finally moved into their new houses in December 2016 — located in Simpang Tiga, Pulai, Kelantan — which were the personal gifts from Sultan Muhammad V who handed the keys to them in person. 

Sultan Muhammad V, 47, is the eldest of four children of Sultan Ismail Petra and Tengku Anis Tengku Abdul Hamid. 

As a patron of Yayasan Sultan Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V helps the unfortunate segment of the society such as the orphans, poor and destitute, and the disabled. The foundation also provides education assistance for his subjects 

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