KUALA LUMPUR: The Sultan of Kedah, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, who assumes the post of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for the second time
today, has expressed the hope that Malaysia will continue to enjoy peace and prosperity, with the various races living in harmony.
Tuanku Abdul Halim recalled the May 13, 1969 incident, which occurred just months before he took office as the fifth Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 1970.
“It was a bitter incident which should not be allowed to recur,” he told Bernama.
Tuanku Abdul Halim served as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for the first time from Jan 21, 1970 to Sept 20, 1975.
Following the racial riot, Parliament was suspended and a State of Emergency was declared while the National Operations Council or Mageran was established to govern the nation between 1969 and 1971, with Tun Abdul Razak Hussein being the director.
Tuanku Abdul Halim noted that the people were more united now but added that “this can further be improved if all parties put the nation’s interest first.”
“Sometimes politicians take the easy way out in their bid to remain popular by playing up religious and racial issues. This causes uneasy feelings among the people who may only be the followers and have no inkling about the issues being fanned,” he said.
Tuanku Abdul Halim, 84, also expressed delight over the fact that he served his term in the 70s when Tun Abdul Razak was the prime minister, and returning to the throne for the second time during the tenure of Abdul Razak’s son, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
On the progress achieved by Malaysia since attaining independence 54 years ago, he said the country had reached a mature age “and therefore the leaders and people should also show maturity in their actions.”
“The country’s strength hinges on political stability and public order.
“And for us to move forward, we should defend these two aspects,” said Tuanku Abdul Halim, who joined the Kedah civil service in the 50s before being appointed as the Regent of Kedah in March 1957 when his father Sultan Badlishah Sultan Abdul Hamid was on an overseas trip.
He ascended the Kedah throne on July 15, 1958 following the demise of Sultan Badlishah and was installed as the 28th Sultan of Kedah on Feb 20, 1959. In July 2008, Kedah held a Golden Jubilee celebration to mark Tuanku Abdul Halim’s 50-year reign.
He is the fourth Sultan of Kedah who celebrated a Golden Jubilee celebration during their reigns.
Tuanku Abdul Halim also said that there was no separating the King and the people.
“The King is the umbrella to people and the people are the pillars of the King. The King’s greatest role is to ensure there will be no cruelty, and destruction, to the people and to the country.
“In a Constitutional Monarchy system, the King is the arbitrator, the balancing power so that there will be peace, stability and public order,” he said.
He also said that in each event which he had attended, he often stressed the importance of unity, and especially for Muslims, to stay true to the teachings of Islam.
Tuanku Abdul Halim was born on Nov 28, 1927 at Istana Anak Bukit, Kedah and obtained his early education from Sekolah Melayu Alor Merah and Sekolah Melayu Titi Gajah before pursuing higher education at the Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid.
He later pursued social science and administration from Wadham College, Oxford, United Kingdom.
He spends his spare time with his family as well as reading and playing golf.
He has three children from his marriage with Sultanah Bahiyah Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman — twin sisters Tunku Soraya and Datuk Seri DiRaja Tunku Sarina, 51, and Datuk Seri Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz, 45.
Tunku Sarina died in 1991 while Sultanah Bahiyah died in 2003 at the age of 73.
He married Sultanah Haminah Hamidun in December 1975.
She was proclaimed the Sultanah in January 2004.
Tuanku Abdul Halim is also an avid supporter of the Kedah football team and had once walked two kilometres, in 2007, to the Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang to watch the Kedah team in action when his official car was trapped in a traffic jam.
The match ended with Kedah beating Perlis 4-2 on penalties after a scoreless draw during regulation time. — Bernama
Sultanah Haminah Hamidun