JOHOR - SOME 1,200 guests - including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak - attended the gala celebrations of the wedding of Johor crown prince at the Istana Besar.
Mr Lee and and his wife Ho Ching arrived at 8.12pm to congratulate the newlyweds, according to a tweet from the Bernama news agency.
Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, 30, married Che' Puan Khaleeda Bustamam, 21, in a private ceremony two weeks ago. He is the eldest of six children of Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.
Live screening was set up for the public at city square Dataran Bandaraya, where people started gathering as early as 5pm, according to reports, and despite heavy rain.
People also gathered outside the main palace Istana Besar to see the royal couple arriving in their car.
Coloured lights on trees and plants were put up at major road intersections in conjunction with the wedding, The Star reported. The roads leading to the palace were decorated with state flags, while government buildings in the city were repainted and brightly lit.
The couple were seen leaving Istana Bukit Serene at 8.20pm in a vintage Mercedes convertible limousine, accompanied by 10 police outriders and members of the Johor Military force in full commando fatigues, according to The Star.They arrived at Istana Besar at 8.52pm, welcomed by the beating of 1,500 kompang (hand held small drums) led 'bunga manggar' (flower decorations on a stick) holders.The wedding ceremony began at 9.20pm with the arrival of the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar and his consort Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah.
It was followed by the arrival of the Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and his consort Paduka Seri Baginda Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha; as well as the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah and the Sultanah of Pahang, Sultanah Hajah Kalsom, The Star reported.Mr Lee and wife Ho Ching were then seen entering the hall, followed by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and their wives.The royal couple then entered the hall with Tunku Ismail wearing dark-blue royal regalia while Che' Puan Khaleeda wore a white dress.Johor Mufti Datuk Mohd Tahrir Samsudin recited prayers before the blessing ceremonies of "merenjis" and "tepung tawar".
The royal couple and guests later left the hall in Istana Besar for a royal banquet.
Among the guests, according to Bernama, were Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam and Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and wife Tun Jeanne Abdullah were also present, Bernama said.
Despite the heavy rain last night, Malaysians eager to catch a glimpse of the royal wedding thronged the Dataran Bandaraya with their umbrellas to watch the live screening on two giant screens that had been set up at the square.
"I have never seen so many colourful lights before and hopefully the decoration will stay even after the royal banquet as it will definitely attract more people especially tourists to come here," Madam Siti Khadijah Mohamad Khaled, a 49-year-old housewife, told The Star.