WATCHING the installation of the 14th Yang diPertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mua'dzam Shah in the Balairong Seri of the new Istana Negara, Jalan Duta, conjured a sense of pride as a Malaysian.
The creation of this institution was proposed by the Reid Commission, based on an idea by first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman who came up with it after observing the system adopted in Negri Sembilan. Thus, all the ingredients of the Royal Courts of the Malay Sultanates have been maintained, and this was evident during the ceremony.
This Institution continues to be relevant. To the ordinary man, the Agong is a symbol of unity affecting the interest and wellbeing of all Malaysians.
The distinctive feature of this institution is the role of the Conference of Rulers. The Conference of Rulers is the highest royal body which, amongst other duties, elects the Yang DiPertuan Agong and the Deputy Yang DiPertuan Agong as provided under Article 38 of the Constitution.
Apart from this function, matters regarding national policies can also form part of the agenda for the Conference of Rulers, though most of the issues deliberated and discussed concern the royalty, Malay customs and Islam, and those stated in Article 32 of the Constitution.
In a way, it can be said that the role of the Conference of Rulers is to act as another check and balance to the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary.
It is also a fact that, Malaysia is the only country in the world where the King is elected by a democratic process by the nine sultans, every five years.
Malaysians also witnessed, for the first time in the history of the institution of the Yang DiPertuan Agong, a sultan ascending the throne for the second time. Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah was the fourth Yang diPertuan Agong from 1970 to 1975 and today is the 14th Yang diPertuan Agong.
Another fact is that during Tuanku's reign as the fourth Yang diPertuan Agong, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein was the prime minister, and this time round, his son Datuk Seri Najib is the prime minister.