JOHOR BAHRU – The people’s ruler. That is what aptly describes Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar who ascended the Johor throne on Jan 23, 2010 upon the demise of his father, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ismail.
The Johor Council of Royal Court president Datuk Abdul Rahim Ramli noted that Sultan Ibrahim since day one took great efforts to lessen the gap between the monarchy and the people by going to the ground.
Among His Majesty’s efforts were the Kembara Mahkota Johor (KMJ) tour throughout the state to meet the people.
In a recent interview at his office, Ramli said the annual programme that began in 2001 has taken His Majesty and his entourage around Johor’s 10 districts.
During the tour they also carried out community activities and welfare projects for the benefit of all levels of the society.
EXEMPLARY LEADERSHIP TRAITS FROM YOUNG
Abdul Rahim recalled that Sultan Ibrahim had displayed exceptional leadership skills since young and these skills were even more evident after he was proclaimed the crown prince of Johor on July 3, 1981.
“Even before he was appointed as a ruler, people were always close to his heart,” he said.
Abdul Rahim, who was the state secretary in 1985, was entrusted by the late Sultan Iskandar to guide Sultan Ibrahim in his royal duties.
“Sultan Ibrahim is fond of following in the steps of Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, which includes performing Friday prayers at mosques all over Johor.
“He has been to all of the mosques in Johor not only for Friday prayers but also daily prayers and tarawih prayers in villages where he mingles with the locals,” he said.
KEMBARA MAHKOTA JOHOR
The Kembara Mahkota Johor programme has become a trademark of the Sultan Ibrahim institution and gave the ruler the avenue to get to know his people.
“He goes down to the ground as often as he could to meet his subjects leaving behind the protocols. His Majesty does not like protocol when mingling with his subjects,” he said.
He said Sultan Ibrahim also likes to buy food at stalls during the fasting month of Ramadan and pay surprise visits to villages to check on cleanliness and harmony there.
“This is a custom of Johor’s rulers and their descendents. They care for the people’s welfare and we are fortunate to have their attention,” said Abdul
He said Sultan Ibrahim had delivered a message saying that his subjects were from all races and known as ‘Bangsa Johor’.
“One of the reasons that Johor is prospering is that our people are united, harmonious, peaceful and cooperative,” he added.
Sultan Ibrahim was born on Nov 22, 1958 at the Johor Baharu General Hospital and began his education at the Temenggong Abdul Rahman School before furthering his studies at the Trinity Grammar School in Sydney, Australia from 1968 to 1970.
Upon returning to Johor, Sultan Ibrahim went for a six-month basic military training at the Army Training Centre before he underwent the Airborne and Infantry Officers Basic Course at the US Army Infantry School, Fort Benning and Special Forces Officer Course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Centre and School in Fort Bragg, the United States.
While taking up the courses he also performed 11 parachute jumps from an aircraft during the day and eight during the night before he was awarded commando wings.
In addition to the military training, Sultan Ibrahim also studied law and diplomacy at Tufts University, United States of America and obtained national administrative training during his stints at government offices.
VISION FOR JOHOR
Besides approaching the people, Sultan Ibrahim also worked to ensure Johor’s development was on the right track and benefitted the people.
“Whatever development has been planned must benefit the people of Johor. As for His Majesty, the people’s welfare has been a priority from day one,” said Abdul Rahim.
Sultan Ibrahim has his own vision and always looks towards the future, especially when touching on issues related to development and Johor.
“If we look at His Majesty, he takes after the visionary Sultan Abu Bakar Sultan Ibrahim. His Majesty thinks out of the box and sees where Johor is going in the future,” said Abdul Rahim.
This can be seen through how he places importance on cleanliness and environmental conservation in the state, which is a crucial aspect for sustainable development.
“Sultan Ibrahim’s current vision is targeted at achieving prosperity and development for the people of Johor. I am proud that His Majesty is active, he
goes out everyday and sees the areas for himself and on his way back he will call the relevant offices to rectify any problem encountered.
“This is good, it means he cares about the welfare and well-being of Johor,” said Abdul Rahim.
Sultan Ibrahim will be crowned as the fifth Sultan of Modern Johor in a regal ceremony on March 23. – BERNAMA