Culture & Religion

Take a look at these videos of the first King of Malaya’s official local state visits

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This is part of a flashback editorial series on all things Malaysian. You can check out other flashback articles in the series for a trip down memory lane.

On the first Saturday of June, we celebrate the official birthday of the Malaysian King. The current king is Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah. This year marks his fifth and final year as Agong – a position one of the nine Malaysian rulers is officially elected into by the Conference of Rulers.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Tuanku Abdul Rahman
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Rahman

The monarchy in Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, and the throne of Malaysia is shared by the nine Sultans in the country who take turns being the country’s king. This system was put in place when Malaysia gained independence from the British in 1957 with the first Agong being Tuanku Abdul Rahman who was elected by the Conference of Rulers on 3rd August 1957 to be the head of state. He ruled Negeri Sembilan for 24 years before becoming Malaya’s king.

Official state visits by the first King of Malaya

Yang di-Pertuan Agong's motorcade
Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s motorcade in Malacca

Tuanku Abdul Rahman was installed as Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 1958 at the National Palace. As King of Malaya, Tuanku made official state visits to several states around Malaysia, which were recorded by a British news company called Pathé News.

We’ve waded through their archives on Youtube/BritishPathe and picked out the old footage of the first Malayan King’s visit to his states. These videos are presumably narrated by a Pathé News presenter – a man with a pleasant English accent.

Malacca, 1957

Penang, 1958

Malayan East Coast, 1958

See also: How do nine Malaysian rulers share one throne?

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