The story of white flags and the King with a heart of gold

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Al-Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Azizah when attending the parade of thanks at Kem Perdana, Sungai Besi on Jan 8, 2024. – Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 23): “Go find the houses flying ‘white flags’ and provide them with necessary assistance.”

This was the directive given by His Majesty, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to his Senior Private Secretary Datuk Nazim Mohd Alim when people were getting desperate and flying white flags outside their homes as plea for help during the Covid-19 lockdown.

It was probably just another piece of evidence that Al-Sultan Abdullah indeed has a heart of gold.

According to Nazim, Al-Sultan Abdullah ‘could not bear’ to see his subjects in distress, especially during the health emergency at that time, which made the King more admirable, not just among the recipients of his assistance, but also to the staff at the palace.

Personally, Nazim said the experience of delivering assistance to those affected by the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) and forced to fly white flags outside their homes during Covid-19 is one of the most memorable in his five years of working with His Majesty.

“His Majesty told me to go out and count how many houses flying white flags in the city. I asked the Kuala Lumpur Police Chief to work with me. Once we have the numbers, we were told to deliver the necessary assistance, which came from His Majesty’s own fund,” he said in a recent interview with Bernama.

Having served Al-Sultan Abdullah since 2018, Nazim is not only responsible for managing the palace correspondence and the King’s schedules, programmes and meetings, but also acts as an investigator, intermediary, and messenger to His Majesty.

His diverse duties allowed him to witness firsthand Al-Sultan Abdullah’s sincerity and determination, especially when the King waded through floodwaters to assist the people, making them feel close to him.

“His Majesty is a very kind and good-hearted human being. In fact, until today, His Majesty has not taken a single sen of salary as the reigning King. So does the Queen, Her Majesty Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah,” said Nazim, who started his career as a speech writer at Istana Negara.

Nazim said he personally felt the royal couple’s compassion when Al-Sultan Abdullah invited him to perform umrah in 2019 to pray for the recovery of his sick daughter.

“When I was in front of the Kaaba, His Majesty came to me and asked if I had prayed for my daughter, to which I answered yes. Then, His Majesty told me that was one of his reasons for bringing me to the Holy Land, to pray for my daughter’s health,” he said while expressing gratitude as his daughter has now fully recovered.

As the head of the religion of Islam in his state, as well as in the four states ruled by appointed Governors and the three Federal Territories, Nazim said Al-Sultan Abdullah has always placed Muslims as his top priority.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that for the first time in history, as soon as  Al-Sultan Abdullah ascended the federal throne, the main surau at Istana Negara was declared as a venue for congregational Friday prayers.

“His Majesty views Istana Negara not as his house, but as a place that belongs to the people, and that’s why surau was opened (for Friday prayers),” he said.

Indeed, the opportunity to serve His Majesty is regarded by Nazim as the sweetest memory of his life, and the people of Malaysia are indeed fortunate to have a King with the people’s interests at heart and always cherished by all segments of society across the country.

“This is the best Agong Malaysia has ever had. I am sure the people will miss him. Whether he is still Agong or not, he will continue to help the people,” Nazim concluded the interview. – Bernama