ALOR STAR: It was a day to mourn for Kedahans following the passing of their beloved Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah at the age of 89.
The grief was also felt across the nation as Malaysians shared their sorrow of losing the King of two generations.
The 27th Sultan of Kedah, the heir of Sultan Badlishah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, created history when he became the only head of state to serve as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong twice.
People took to social media to extend their heartfelt condolences as soon as the news broke, which was followed by an official press conference by Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah at 6pm.
His passing came just a year shy from the 60th anniversary as the Sultan of Kedah, after ascending the throne on July 15, 1958 at the age of 35.
He was subsequently installed as the Sultan of Kedah on Feb 20, 1959, following the demise of Sultan Badlishah.
Sultan Abdul Halim will always be remembered as the true Sultan of the people with his warm gestures and compassion towards his subject matters.
People did not just look up to Sultan Abdul Halim as the head of state, but rather as the umbrella which provided the protection for the rakyat. He was also seen as the Ruler who had successfully bridged any divide between the palace and the people.
Sultan Abdul Halim was simply the Sultan for all Kedahans, regardless of their race and religion. In short, in his nearly six decades of reign, Sultan Abdul Halim had established himself as an institution in the Kedah monarchy.
As the number one fan of the Kedah football team, Sultan Abdul Halim hardly missed matches played at Stadium Darulaman, joining thousands of supporters to spur the players through thick and thin.
The current Lang Merah squad members will forever rejoice the sweet memory of being feted to a special dinner treat by Sultan Abdul Halim for winning the FA Cup in May.
Sultan Abdul Halim’s caring attitude also transcended the rakyat as he was also known as an animal lover and this was manifested through the establishment of a 'mini zoo' in the Istana Anak Bukit compound.
Sultan Abdul Halim received his early education at Alor Merah and Titi Gajah Malay Schools. He continued his studies at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Star between 1946 and 1948.
He later attended Wadham College, Oxford in early 1952 where he obtained a Diploma in Social Science and Public Administration.
Upon graduating, Sultan Abdul Halim returned to Kedah to join the state’s administrative service.
His compassion towards the people's welfare and the state’s affairs was influenced greatly by his experience in state administration after serving at the Alor Star district office and the State Treasury.
Sultan Abdul Halim had served as deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong from Sept 21, 1965 for five years before being elected as the 5th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
He had served his term in office from Sept 21, 1970 to Sept 20, 1975 when the late Tun Abdul Razak was serving as the nation’s second prime minister.
Sultan Abdul Halim made history when he was elected to serve a second term as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Dec 13, 2011 to succeed Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu whose term ended on Dec 12, 2011.
Coincidentally, the appointment came during the time of Tun Razak's son, Datuk Seri Najib who is serving as the 6th prime minister.
Sultan Abdul Halim's coronation ceremony held at Istana Negara on April 11, 2012, attracted coverage from international media, including several established international documentary production houses.
He became the oldest Malay ruler to be crowned king at 84 years and 15 days old, surpassing the record held by the late Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz of Selangor.
Sultan Abdul Halim completed the remarkable history by completing his five-year reign as the King last December.