PETALING JAYA – Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah was born on Nov 28, 1927, to Sultan Badlishah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah and Tunku Sofiah Tunku Mahmud.
His father was a half-brother of Malaysia’s first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, making him the nephew of Bapa Malaysia.
He started his education at Sekolah Melayu, Alor Merah, and Sekolah Melayu, Titi Gajah, which were near the palace.
He then enrolled at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Setar, the first English school in Kedah, from 1946 to 1949 for his secondary school education.
The young prince was proclaimed the Raja Muda of Kedah on Aug 6, 1949, while he was still pursuing his studies at Oxford.
Returning to pre-independence Malaya in 1955, Tuanku Abdul Halim joined the Kedah Civil Service. His very first posting was to the Kota Setar District Office and he was later transferred to the State Treasury.
Tuanku Abdul Halim married Tuanku Bahiyah Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the eldest daughter of the then Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman, on March 10, 1956.
Tuanku Abdul Halim ascended the throne of Kedah on July 14, 1958, after the demise of his father. He was installed as Sultan on Feb 20, 1959.
The royal couple was blessed with three princesses: Tunku Soraya, Tunku Salina and Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz.
Tunku Salina died in 1991 while Sultanah Bahiyah died in 2003.
Tuanku Abdul Halim also married Che Puan Haminah Hamidun on Dec 25, 1975, and she was proclaimed the new Sultanah of Kedah on Jan 9, 2004, after the death of Sultanah Bahiyah, with the title of Tuanku Sultanah Haminah.
Tuanku Abdul Halim made history by being the only monarch in Malaysia who has risen to the throne twice.
He was officially proclaimed the fifth Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Sept 21, 1970, with Tuanku Sultanah Bahiyah as the Raja Permaisuri Agong. His first five-year term was between 1970 and 1975.
In 2011, he was proclaimed the nation’s 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong with Tuanku Sultanah Hajah Haminah Hamidun as Raja Permaisuri Agong.
Up to his death, Tuanku Abdul Halim was the second longest-reigning living monarch in the world after Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who has reigned for 65 years.
He celebrated his 50 years as the ruler of Kedah in July 2008.
In his 59 years as Sultan, Tuanku Abdul Halim was served by 11 mentris besar, the most recent being Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah.
As Agong, he was served by two prime ministers, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and his son Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Tuanku Abdul Halim has met with two US Presidents on their visits to Malaysia, the first being Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966 when he was the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and Barack Obama in 2014 when he reigned the second time. – The Star Online