KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 15, 2011): The Yang Di Pertuan Agong now has a new official residence after the Istana Negara in Jalan Istana shifted to the RM800 million palace in Jalan Duta. The King's private flag was raised at the new Istana Negara for the first time in a ceremony filled with pomp and pageantry at 10.25am today. Istana Negara Grand Chamberlain Datuk Tengku Farok Husin Tengku Abdul Jalil had earlier handed over the flag to a team of flag bearers to signify the commencement of duty of the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) at the Jalan Duta Istana Negara square. The new palace, in tune with technology today, uses an automated flag raiser unlike the manual approach at the old palace. Istana Negara began shifting its operations to the new complex in Jalan Duta in stages since Oct 19 while the assignment of guards from ATM began yesterday. The new Istana Negara, built with Islamic and traditional Malay features, is located on a 96.52 hectare site. It will witness the installation of the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah of Kedah in December.
The old palace had served as the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for 54 years. At 9am today, a ceremony was held to officially decommission the old Istana Negara. It began with the marching in of the First Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment (RAMD) comprising two officers and 58 men of various ranks accompanied by the RAMD central band. The ceremony continued with a team of flag bearers comprising 10 members of the RAMD who lowered the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's private flag as the last post was being played, signifying the shifting of the official residence of the King to its new home in Jalan Duta. Later, the ceremony continued with the procession of the flag bearers with the ceremonial horse squadron to the palace main entrance to present the flag to the Grand Chamberlain, who later directed Istana Negara officer Rosli Asri to lock the main entrance of the palace.
Among those present to witness the flag lowering ceremony were Senior Deputy Secretary-General of the Prime Minister's Department who is also the chairman of National Official Ceremony, Datuk Othman Mahmood; Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt Gen Datuk Raja Afandi Raja Mohd Nor and Deputy Chief of Staff Maj Gen Datuk Abdul Aziz Ibrahim. The 11.34 hectare old palace which was the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was originally a double storey bungalow built in 1928 by a local Chinese millionaire, Chan Wing. The building which was later made a palace of the Selangor Sultan was 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. –Bernama