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Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah (middle) looking at a manuscript during visiting the British Library which is one of the largest libraries in the world by the number of items catalogued, today.Also present Lead Curator of Antiquarian Mapping of the library, Tom Harper (right).BERNAMA

LONDON: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, who is on a special visit to the United Kingdom, visited the British Library, one of the largest libraries in the world by the number of items catalogued.

His Majesty was greeted by British Library chairman Dame Carol Black upon arrival on a chilly Wednesday morning.

During the two-hour visit, Sultan Abdullah was shown collections of royal letters in Jawi, as well as manuscripts, by the library's Southeast Asia Section head, Datuk Dr Annabel Teh Gallop.

The section includes a 17th-century chart of Southeast Asia and a town plan of Melaka. The library has over 170 million items from almost every language and faith group. Over 400,000 users from all around the world visit the library's reading rooms each year.

Meanwhile, speaking in fluent Malay, Gallop said the Malay section features about 10,000 printed books, magazines and newspapers, and 1,000 handwriting manuscripts in Malay and Jawi.

"Among the items that we showed His Majesty today was a letter from the Sultan of Johor and Pahang, Sultan Mahmud Shah, to Sir Stamford Raffles in 1811, written in Jawi script that is most beautiful and adorned with elegant gold engraving," Gallop said.

The historic document is part of the collections on British officers such as Raffles and John Crawfurd.

Gallop, who was raised in Brunei, said the British Library has richer collections on literature, history and law, while the National Library of Malaysia (Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia) has a richer collection on religion. – BERNAMA

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