Lipis villager reminisces about the day he ferried the King on his motorcycle, navigating muddy roads

LIPIS: It was on Jan 7, 2021, when major floods struck Kampung Binjai near Cheka here, and several VVIPs were visiting the village to meet the victims.

Odd-job worker Aniq Ridhauddin Jasmi, 26, was among a group of youths riding their motorcycles trailing the VVIP motorcade which was led by a black Toyota Hilux pickup,  on its way to visit one of the flood-hit homes in the settlement.

Minutes later, Aniq Ridhauddin, who had stopped his motorcycle with the engine running several metres away from the motorcade, felt someone climbing onto the back of his motorcycle.

He was stunned upon realising the pillion rider was none other than the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah who had earlier travelled in the Hilux.

The next 30 minutes was a ride of a lifetime for Aniq Ridhauddin as he 'cautiously navigated' his SM Sport motorcycle along the wet and bumpy road with the King resting his hands on his (Aniq Ridhauddin) shoulders.

Three years have passed since the unexpected ride and Aniq Ridhauddin vividly remembers the memorable moment which made him an 'instant celebrity' in the village which has a 300-odd population.

As Aniq Ridhauddin scrolled through his phone photo gallery looking at the pictures taken during the unforgettable ride, he recollected how the day unfolded when the youths at the village gathered after being informed that several VVIPs were going to visit Kampung Binjai.

"The village was flooded for several weeks and most of us were temporarily staying at the relief centre. During breakfast, we were informed that the King, Menteri Besar (Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail) and several others will be coming to the village at 10am to distribute aid.

"The Agong was travelling in a Hilux accompanied by several four-wheel-drive vehicles while the youths including myself, followed on our motorcycles. After visiting the relief centre, the King walked to visit the flood hit homes and his Hilux was parked quite a distance away as some areas were extremely muddy.

"I remember the Agong was wearing a blue uniform similar to the ones worn by the navy and he was talking to some elderly villagers. Since my friends and I were following on our motorcycles, we decided to wait for the VVIPs to get into their vehicles and leave first....seconds later the Agong went to my bike," he told New Straits Times when met.

The third of five siblings, Aniq Ridhauddin said as Al-Sultan Abdullah climbed to sit on his motorcycle, several policemen immediately approached him.

"One of them asked some details about my name and where I stayed while another told me to wear the face mask. Some men whom I believed were the Agong's bodyguards rode closely on other motorcycles.

"I was initially trembling with fear as the people around were all focused on my motorcycle but soon regained my composure. I remember riding at a speed of 20km per hour and did not utter a single word until the King asked me details about myself, my family and the floods.

"We made several stops as villagers were eagerly waiting to meet the King and take pictures with him. I remember the convoy stopped to see the water level near the river and the King stepped down from the motorcycle several times to meet the flood victims," he said.

Aniq Ridhauddin said the King spent about 30 minutes travelling on the motorcycle around the village and had wanted to visit other nearby areas but due to his tight schedule, the Agong had to leave early.

"When we stopped near his Hilux, the King casually thanked me for bringing him around the village and I shook hands with him. After the King left, my friends approached me asking about my experience and conversation with the was like a dream for me.

"Only the following day, I realised that several videos and images of the King riding on my motorcycle had gone viral. Friends jokingly told me to remove and keep the motorcycle seat as a remembrance as it might once day fetch a high price....many told me that I was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to bring the King around my village," he said, adding there were even those asked if he wanted to sell the motorcycle.

Meanwhile, Aniq Ridhauddin said as the King completes his five-year reign as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong today, he hopes to meet Al-Sultan Abdullah to have a picture taken soon.

"I did not have the opportunity (to take a photograph) three years ago but hopefully soon as the Sultan is planning a tour of the districts in Pahang. This will be a story that I will share with my children and grandchildren....not everyone gets the opportunity to bring the King on their motorcycle," he said.

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