Malaysia practices a system of parliamentary democracy with constitutional monarchy. Yang di-Pertuan Agong (His Majesty The King) is the Head of State.
The current King is His Majesty Almu’tasimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Al-Haj Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah. He is the 14th King of the country and his term of service began on December 13, 2011.
In the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, there is a beautiful Royal Museum settled comfortably on 11.34 hectare of land and on the busy Istana Road.
This Royal Museum was previously the official residence of Malaysia’s King and Queen. It was known as Istana Negara (Malay for National Palace) until the year of 2011 when it was replaced with the new National Palace on Duta Road (also in Kuala Lumpur).
From information obtained online, I’ve learned that the Royal Museum title is quite new as it was first opened to public just last year (2013).
Recently, I decided to check out the majestic Royal Museum which included Balairung Seri on the compound.
There were many furnished rooms in the former National Palace that visitors were allowed to view including dining rooms, a theater, bedrooms, a laundry room and offices. It was also interesting to discover what used to be a clinic equipped with a dental chair inside that old palace.
Chandeliers were among the many well-favored items spotted on location.
There were also a lot of photos decorating the walls and I remember one of them was of Tuanku Abdul Halim (the King) and the late Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Bahiyah Tuanku Abdul Rahman when they met with Queen Elizabeth II during a state visit to the United Kingdom in 1974. During that period His Majesty was serving as the fifth King of Malaysia between 1970 and 1975 (Now is the second time Tuanku Abdul Halim serves as the King).
You might also be interested to know that the old National Palace was originally a private mansion which was built in 1928. The Federal Government of Malaysia purchased the property in the same year the country became independent in 1957 and turned the building into National Palace. (Source: Wikipedia: Istana Negara, Jalan Istana).
The Museum was crowded with tourists. A few staff members donning traditional Malay clothes were at the old palace and they were friendly in answering my questions.
Just so you know, no camera was allowed inside the former official residence. So, there are no pictures of the interior of the 2-storey old palace I could share in this article.
The Balairung Seri which I went to see next was just beautiful.
The brightly lit interior of the Balairung Seri looked familiar to me as I instantly remembered seeing it on television especially during coronation ceremonies.
To add to the excitement, there was Exhibition of the Conference of Rulers available at the time of my trip. Among the exhibits included Council of Rulers’ Ballot Box and The Ruler’s Seal. Indeed, there was plenty of information ready to be absorbed during this tour.
I managed to snap some photos inside of the Balairung Seri where cameras were permitted.
I would like to leave you with these photos taken during my trip to the Royal Museum in Kuala Lumpur.
Note: This post was first published on Kamversation.com on February 3, 2014.