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KUALA LUMPUR: The Sultan of Kedah, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'azam Shah, today took the oath of office as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong at a ceremony steeped in royal traditions at Istana Negara, here.
This is the second time that Tuanku Abdul Halim has been chosen as King, the first time from Jan 21, 1970 to Sept 20, 1975, having been appointed to the post at age 43, making him among the youngest Malay rulers to hold the post.
Tuanku Halim was chosen by the Malay rulers the second time for the post at the 226th (Special) Meeting of the Conference of Rulers held at Istana Negara on Oct 14, 2011 for a five-year period, effective today.
Tuanku Abdul Halim, 84, who was before this the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong since Dec 13, 2006, replaces the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, who ended his term as the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong yesterday.
The rotation system for the post of Yang di-Pertuan Agong among the nine Malay hereditary rulers began since the country's independence on Aug 31, 1957.
The ceremony today was the first held at the new, magestic and sprawling Istana Negara which bears Islamic and Malay architectural elements and located on a 96.52ha site in Jalan Duta, here.
The ceremony began at 11.15am, with the 227th (Special) Meeting of the Conference of Rulers convened in conjunction with the taking of oath and signing of the instrument of office at the Balairong Seri (Throne Room).
The meeting was chaired by the Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail.
The Keeper of the Rulers' Seal, Datuk Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, presented the instrument of office to Tuanku Abdul Halim, who was in a Kedah royal attire called Sikap consisting of a short jacket with a high collar, tenggolok (headdress), long pants, sampin, bengkung (cummerbund) and complete with a keris (Malay dagger).
Tuanku Abdul Halim then made the pledge and signed the instrument of office before the other rulers.
The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, and Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah, were the witnesses to the signing of the document.
The ceremony proceeded with the taking of oath and signing of the instrument of office as Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong by the Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V, 42, followed by the reciting of the "doa" by the chief imam of the National Mosque, Tan Sri Syaikh Ismail Muhammad.
The Keeper of the Rulers' Seal then asked for the meeting of the Conference of Rulers be adjourned to another date to be determined later.
The ceremony continued with the signing of the proclamation of appointment letter by Tuanku Abdul Halim as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak then reading out the proclamation.
This was followed by the signing of the proclamation of appointment letter by Sultan Muhammad V as Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the proclamation also read out by Najib.
The ceremony was attended by all the Malay rulers of the respective states except Terengganu, which was represented by Tengku Sri Temenggong Raja, Tengku Baharuddin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah.
Also present were the four Yang Dipertua Negeri, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, cabinet ministers and heads of department.
The ceremony which was broadcast live over RTM1, ended with the reciting of the "doa" by Federal Territory Mufti Datuk Wan Zahidi Wan Teh.
Tuanku Abdul Halim then met with the cabinet ministers and heads of department led by Najib in the Seri Mahkota Room of the palace. - Bernama