Sultan of Johor in Malaysia committed to diet before coronation

JOHOR BARU - The Sultan of Johor said he was committed to losing some weight before his coronation next week, as preparations were underway to celebrate the historic moment, Malaysia media reported.

"I am drinking a lot of water and eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. I have already lost 20kg since I started my diet in January," Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar told the New Straits Times.

"I gain and lose weight easily, but the coronation ceremony has given me the motivation to go on a diet because I want to be slimmer. I want the people to see me fit because this is a once-in-a-lifetime event."

He made the comments during a meeting with the media over the weekend. He was accompanied by his consort, Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris, and his son, Tunku Putera Johor Tunku Abu Bakar Iskandar.

"I fully support Tuanku in watching what he eats. He is really committed and has been eating a lot of fruits and vegetables," said Raja Zarith, adding that she was nervous about the ceremony.

To welcome this momentous event on March 23, major sprucing up efforts can be seen in and around Johor Baru as beautification efforts were initiated some time ago, The Star reported on Tuesday.

Johor Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad said that all the restoration, renovation and refurbishment works at the Istana Besar, Istana Bukit Serene and Polo Club were completed, last year.

The Istana Besar will play an important role as this is where the coronation will take place while the Istana Bukit Serene has traditionally been the Ruler's residence.

Hasni said that all these venues were utilised during the Johor Ruler's birthday celebrations last year as a trial run.

Besides that, more than a dozen giant billboards with the words "Daulat Tuanku" have been erected along major roads in the city and also on many government and privately owned buildings.

The city centre near the Istana Besar, where the main event is scheduled to be held, has been transformed into a fairyland at night with LED lights and colourful lamps.

Many malls and government departments have also been lit up with colourful lights while road pavements have been given a new coat of paint.

Many of the city roads have also been resurfaced.

A replica of a Boeing 777-200 aircraft has also been built near the Senai International Airport in Kulaijaya as part of the attractions.

The plane, together with a fountain and landscaping, was constructed at a roundabout near the airport, which will be the main entry point for foreign dignitaries entering the state for the event.

Several other landmarks are also being set-up in the other districts in conjunction with the coronation.

A distinctive landscape in many districts is a replica of the Ruler's crown, which will be placed on pedestrian bridges and roundabouts.

A similar replica of the crown at the entrance of Istana Bukit Serene has attracted a lot of attention since last year.

The crown, weighing several tonnes and placed on an arch resembling elephant tusks, had attracted a lot of visitors including tourists.