KUALA LUMPUR: After serving for 54 years, Istana Negara, the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Jalan Istana along the Mahameru Highway, ended its function officially with pomp and pageantry here.
The ceremony, which began at 9am yesterday, witnessed the marching in of the First Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment, comprising two officers and 58 men of various ranks, accompanied by its central band.
A team of flag-bearers then lowered the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s private flag as the last post was being played to signify the shifting of Istana Negara to the new palace in Jalan Duta.
The flag-bearers proceeded to the palace’s main entrance to present this to Istana Negara Grand Chamberlain Tengku Farok Husin Tengku Abdul Jalil, who represented Istana Negara in signifying the palace’s completion of duty.
As a symbolic closure, the Grand Chamberlain directed Istana Negara officer Rosli Asri to lock the main entrance to signify that all duties had been completed.
Among those who witnessed the flag-lowering ceremony were senior deputy secretary-general in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Othman Mahmood, who is also National Official Ceremony chairman, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt Jen Datuk Raja Afandi Raja Nor and his deputy Major Jen Datuk Abdul Aziz Ibrahim.
Meanwhile, at the new Istana Negara, a ceremony to raise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s private flag started at 10.25am with the Grand Chamberlain handing this over to a team of flag bearers to signify the commencement of duty of the Malaysian Armed Forces at its square.
This time, the new palace used an automated flag raiser.
Istana Negara began shifting its operations to the new complex in stages from Oct 19.
The assignment of guards from the Armed Forces began yesterday.
The 11.34ha old palace, which was the King’s official residence, was originally a double-storey bungalow built in 1928 by local Chinese millionaire Chan Wing and bought by the Selangor Government to be renovated into the residence of Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sir Hishamuddin Alam Shah.
The building was later acquired by the Federal Government as the official residence of the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Rahman Tuanku Muhammad a few weeks before the declaration of independence.
The new Istana Negara will witness the installation of the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah of Kedah, next month. – Bernama