JOHOR BAHARU – Heavy rains in the city did not deter more than 1,000 people from viewing the ‘live’ telecast of the Royal Wedding between Tengku Mahkota Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim and Che’ Puan Khaleeda Bustamam, at the Istana Besar here last night.
The public began filling the grounds of Dataran Bandaraya Johor Baharu as early as 5 p.m. to witness the ceremony which was shown on two giant screens put up by the Johor Baharu City Council.
Members of the public were seen lining the three-kilometre stretch of road between Istana Bukit Serene and Istana Besar to get a glimpse of the royal couple.
The couple were seen leaving Istana Bukit Serene at 8.20 p.m. in a vintage Mercedes convertible limousine, accompanied by 10 police outriders and members of the Johor Military force in full commando fatigues.
Meanwhile, at the Istana Besar, dignitaries were seen entering the palace grounds from 7.30 p.m.
The royal couple arrived at Istana Besar at 8.52 p.m, 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 9.20 p.m. 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 Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong and wife Ho Ching were then seen entering the hall followed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and wife, Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman.
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 was then seen reciting the prayers before the blessing ceremonies of “merenjis” and “tepung tawar” were started by the Sultan of Brunei, followed by his consort, the Sultan of Pahang and the Sultanah of Pahang, the Sultan of Johor and Raja Zarith Sofiah, as well as the Sultan’s grandmother, Enche Besar Hajjah Khalsom.
The ceremony ended with blessings by Che’ Puan Khaleeda’s mother, Aziyah Abdul Aziz.
The royal couple and guests then left the hall in Istana Besar for a royal banquet.
Among the guests 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