ALOR SETAR: The late Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah was not just a caring ruler but also one who was looked up to as a father figure.
Former grand chamberlain Mej Jen Datuk Wira Md Tajri Alwi, 58, said he first experienced the royal’s patience and humility before he began his four-year stint under the late Sultan of Kedah when Tuanku Abdul Halim served as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the Istana Negara.
“I have been a military man all my life. I was posted in Bangladesh when the late Sultan requested me to take up the post as grand chamberlain.
“I replied to my chief of defence force that I had six more months before my scheduled return to Malaysia.
“It was a great honour for a military guy to be put in that post,” he said.
The Kelantanese added that one of the best memories he had of the then-Agong was during the massive floods in Kelantan in 2014.
“He called me to his office and asked if I could go to Kelantan and take some cash to the victims. I knew he had wanted to go but as the King, it was not so easy for him to just go.
“Every day, he would personally ask the staff for updates of the flood situation.
“He was like a father to us – caring, graceful, and concerned for staff welfare,” said Mej Jen Md Tajri, who is currently the commander of army training in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan.
Tuanku Abdul Halim reigned twice as King – from 1970 to 1975, and 2011 to 2016.
The Kedah Ruler, 89, passed away at 2.30pm on Monday and was laid to rest at the Langgar Royal Mausoleum on Tuesday.
Jaswant Singh Udham Singh, 64, who has been a palace security officer since 1970, too, felt the loss of a Sultan who had always to see the children of his staff succeed.
“He frequently asked about their education and how they were doing in school.
“Whenever Tuanku knew of any of his employees having difficulty paying for their children’s education, he would make sure that the issue was resolved.
“He did not mind financing their education from his own pocket.
“The late Tuanku had a soft spot for the rakyat, his employees and their children,” he added.
Kedah MCA chairman Datuk Lee Chee Leong said Tuanku Abdul Halim was a much loved leader not only within Kedah but also nationwide as he held the position of Agong twice.
“It is a great loss to the nation,” said Lee.
MIC president and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam remembered the ruler as very humble and easy to approach.
Former Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said he was a leader above politics who cared more for his people’s welfare.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government felt the loss of a good leader as he extended the condolences of the state and its people to the family.
“As a mark of respect to the late Sultan, the Penang government has instructed all flags in the state to be flown half-mast for two days (from Tuesday),” he said.
For Penang’s Republic of China consul-general to Penang Wu Jun, many developments were seen under the late Tuanku’s leadership.
Also feeling the loss was physically challenged Mohamad Shukor Abbas, 47, who was at the royal mausoleum for the final send-off of the late Sultan.
“I was at a community function and so close to shaking hands with him but he was directed elsewhere.
“But I mostly remember him as a Sultan any Kedahan would be proud to have, for his love and care towards the people,” he said. -THE STAR