KUALA KANGSAR: Perak Ruler Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah has been installed as the 35th Sultan of Perak today.
The Ruler, with the interests of the people at heart, has emphasised that the installation ceremony should not be a fiesta or an excuse to indulge in extravagance.
Sultan Nazrin instead said it should be a ceremony steeped in culture and kept emphasising the need to steer clear from spending lavishly on the ceremony when its purpose is to revisit the nationâ€™s history.
The Ruler had won many hearts even before becoming the Sultan because when he was the Raja Muda, he had politely declined a state allocation for his wedding to Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Zara Salim in May 2007.
He had at that time told the then mentri besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali that he would pay for all expenses incurred for his wedding.
He advised the state government to spend the money on development projects to meet the needs of the people.
He had said that if there were expenditures involving the state coffers, they were to repair and upgrade infrastructure that would benefit the people in the long term.
The Ruler had also said at that time, that expenses for the feast for the common folk would also be borne by him.
He wanted a simple royal wedding conducted on a moderate scale, and had advised companies and individuals against competing to buy advertisement space in newspapers on the occasion of his wedding.
Instead he had said that he would be happier if the funds for the advertisements were channelled to charity, such as donating to places of worship, welfare bodies, old folks homes, orphanages and schools in Perak.
As a Raja Muda, he was also willing to endure the bumpy rides to get to an Orang Asli village in Kampung Kuala Mu in Sungai Siput for the opening of a road linking the village to Sungai Siput town.
As a Sultan, he had surprised his subjects by visiting a Ramadan bazaar, gone shopping with his children, and had also obliged to take selfies with the rakyat.
When the three bodies of MH17 victims from Perak were flown to the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in August last year, the Ruler was there to pay his last respects.
When the remains of the last victim of the tragedy was brought to Teluk Intan in a helicopter from the KLIA in September the same year, the Sultan and his consort were also present.
Then in October, during the 161st Perak Dewan Negara meeting, the Ruler had requested that he and his consort not to be presented with souvenirs or gifts during official functions.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir had since said the state government would also follow the Sultanâ€™s lead.
Then on Nov 27 last year, the Ruler decided against another public holiday on his birthday for the state, since April 19 had been a public holiday to celebrate the birthday of his late father, Sultan Azlan Shah.
His Royal Highness did not want to disrupt the schedules and concentration of students sitting for their SPM and STPM examinations.
The down-to-earth Sultan had also visited flood victims in Kuala Kangsar and Lenggong in December, and had met with the people at the temporary shelters in the two districts as he went around visiting their flooded homes.
Apparently, the Sultan had just landed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in the wee hours of the morning after his trip to Japan and had proceeded to the Kuala Kangsar Municipal Council to be briefed by the respective authorities.
Early January this year, the Ruler had called for greater tolerance during his Maulidur Rasul address, drawing on the example of Prophet Muhammad as a leader who protected the rights of minorities to practise their religion.
He had said that religious tolerance was demonstrated very clearly when Prophet Muhammad signed an agreement with monks at the St Catherine monastery in Mount Sinai in 627 AD, where the Muslims provided a guarantee to protect the Christians, their homes and their place of worship.
Just recently, he had braved a downpour to complete the 8km cycling event during the â€˜Kayuhan Muhibbah Bersama Rakyatâ€™ programme in Ipoh.
Together with his consort, His Royal Highness cycled in the rain with about 1,500 participants, from Dataran Ipoh to Gunung Cheroh, the Ipoh Railway and Jalan Sultan Idris Shah before returning to the starting point.
Born on Nov 27, 1956, he is the eldest son of the late Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, and Permaisuri Tuanku Bainun Mohd Ali.
His Royal Highness began school life at the Jalan Kuantan Primary School in Kuala Lumpur until Year 5, and then continued his primary and lower secondary education at St Johnâ€™s Institution in Kuala Lumpur.
At the age of 13, His Royal Highness went to Britain to continue his studies at The Leys School in Cambridge.
He subsequently obtained a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford.
He has a PhD in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University.
His research interests are in the areas of economic and political development in Southeast Asia, economic growth in developing countries and economic history.
He has written articles and spoken on a wide range of issues including constitutional monarchy, nation building, Islam, Islamic finance, ethno-religious relations, education and socio-economic development.
His Royal Highness is an Honorary Fellow of Worcester College, University of Oxford, and of Magdalene College of University of Cambridge.
He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Royal Fellow of the Malaysian Institute of Defence and Security, Royal Fellow of the Malaysian Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Royal Fellow of the Institute of Public Security of Malaysia and Royal Patron of the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre.
His Royal Highness has also accepted the invitation of the Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon, to serve as co-chair of the United Nations High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing.
The Ruler has also received the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to be appointed the 4th Chancellor of University Malaya effective July 16, 2014.
On Aug 14, 2014, the Ruler consented to being the Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment of Royal Engineers and of the Royal Medical Corps of the Malaysian Armed Forces.
In the hierarchy of the Perak Sultanate, His Royal Highness was proclaimed the Raja Kecil Besar of Perak on Feb 16, 1984, and the Crown Prince of Perak on April 15, 1987.
Upon the passing of his father on May 28 last year, the Dewan Negara Perak unanimously elected His Royal Highness as the 35th Sultan of Perak, with the title Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.
His Royal Highness was proclaimed the Sultan on May 29, 2014.
The royal couple are blessed with two children.
The coupleâ€™s first child, Raja Azlan Muzzaffar Shah, was born on March 14, 2008, followed by Raja Nazira Safya Shah on Aug 2, 2011.