The out-going Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah of Kedah was a king who created history in Malaysia.
He was the first, perhaps could be the only time for long time to come, to be elected twice as the Agong.
Ironically, Tuanku Abdul Halim served as king during the premiership era of the same family – Abdul Razak Hussein and Najib Razak.
Tuanku Abdul Halim first ascended the throne as the fifth Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 1970, at a time when the country was recovering from the racial riots of May 13, 1969.
He was installed as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, under a unique rotation system of election of the nine Malay Rulers, in April this year.
The Sultan of Kedah reigned as the nation’s 5th Yang di-Pertuan Agong for the first time, between 1970 and 1975 during the era of Prime Minister Abdul Razak (1970 – 76).
He has now reigned as the 14th Agong from Dec 13, 2011 until Dec 12, 2016 during Razak’s son Najib current premiership era.
Tuanku Abdul Halim is known to be a nature-loving monarch – flora and fauna attract his attention, and has deep concern for the people’s welfare.
The Kedah Sultan went to the ground often and brought the palace close to the people.
The amiable character of the 84-year-old monarch has made him a ruler dearly loved and well respected by the people of Kedah, in particular, and the country, in general.
He also keeps in close touch with the people through his active participation in the activities of numerous organisations, among them the Sultan Abdul Hamid College Old Boys Association, the Malaysia & Singapore Vintage Car Register, the Malaysian Snooker & Billiards Federation, the Kedah Golf Association and the Sultanah Bahiyah Foundation.
Tuanku Abdul Halim is a firm believer in the adage that education makes the man.
Every year, he and the Raja Permaisuri Agong attend various activities in primary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities.
His Majesty is also the chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) and the Insaniah University College in Kedah.
Tuanku Abdul Halim himself is well educated.
He had his early education at Sekolah Melayu Titi Gajah and then went to the Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Setar.
In 1952, when he was the Raja Muda of Kedah, Tuanku Abdul Halim attended Wadham College, Oxford, in London, graduating in social science and public administration.
At the Istana Anak Bukit in Alor Setar, Tuanku Abdul Halim has a mini zoo which houses various kinds of birds and animals, including horses, deer, crocodiles, monkeys and rabbits.
His Majesty finds time also to engage in a favourite pastime – golf. He also likes soccer and follows closely the development of the sport in Kedah and in the country.
His Majesty also reads, goes on tours and likes photography.
Tuanku Abdul Halim was born on Nov 28, 1927.
On July 14, 1958, he ascended the throne of Kedah after the demise of his father, Sultan Badlishah.
He was installed as the Sultan of Kedah on Feb 20, 1959.
In July 2008, His Majesty celebrated his 50 years as the ruler of Kedah.
Tuanku Abdul Halim married Tuanku Hajah Bahiyah Tuanku Abdul Rahman on March 10, 1956, and they were blessed with three princesses, Tunku Soraya, Tunku Salina and Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz.
Tunku Salina has passed away.
Sultanah Bahiyah died in 2003.
Tuanku Abdul Halim married Che Puan Hajah Haminah Hamidun on Dec 25, 1975, and Her Majesty was proclaimed the new Sultanah of Kedah on Jan 9, 2004, with the title of Tuanku Sultanah Hajah Haminah.