Kedah ruler steps down as Malaysia's King

Sultan Abdul Halim and Queen Haminah at the send-off ceremony yesterday with (from left) Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Sultan Abdul Halim and Queen Haminah at the send-off ceremony yesterday with (from left) Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.PHOTO: THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's King Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and Queen Haminah left the state palace Istana Negara yesterday morning in a royal send-off ceremony to mark the end of their five-year reign.

They arrived at Parliament Square at 8.30am where they were greeted by Prime Minister Najib Razak, his deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers.

Sultan Abdul Halim, 89, who is ruler of northern Kedah state, performed his duty as the 14th Malaysian king for the second time from 2012, with Datuk Seri Najib serving as Prime Minister.

In 1970, Sultan Abdul Halim was first elevated to the position of the Malaysian king for five years when he was 43. Prime Minister Najib's father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, was the prime minister at that time.

The King and Queen bade farewell to those present and left Parliament complex at 8.50am for the VVIP complex at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, from where they flew home to Alor Setar airport in Kedah.

Tens of thousands of Kedahans, from students to civil servants, greeted him along the route to his palace in Alor Setar.

The ruler of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V, will be installed as the next King today.

Under a unique system maintained since Malaya's independence from Britain in 1957, the nine hereditary Malay rulers take turns to be the King for five-year terms.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 13, 2016, with the headline 'Kedah ruler steps down as Malaysia's King'. Print Edition | Subscribe