Abdul Halim of Kedah
Almu'tasimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Alhaj Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah, GCB KStJ is the 14th and current Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, as well as the 27th and current Sultan of Kedah.
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Almu'tasimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Alhaj Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah, GCB KStJ (born 28 November 1927) is the 14th and current Yang di-Pertuan Agong (head of state) of Malaysia, as well as the 27th and current Sultan of Kedah. He previously served as the fifth Yang di-Pertuan Agong from 1970 to 1975. He is the first person to hold the position twice, as well as the oldest elected to the office.
Born at Istana Anak Bukit near Alor Star as Tunku Abdul Halim, he was the second, but eldest surviving son, of Sultan Badlishah (born 1894; reigned 1943–1958), who later became the 27th Sultan of Kedah. His Majesty is of Malay and Thai descent. His mother was a pure Kedah-born Thai lady named Tunku Sofiah binti Tunku Mahmud (born 1910), who died in an automobile accident on 28 February 1935. Tunku Abdul Halim's maternal grandfather, Tunku Mahmud, was once Raja Muda or heir presumptive to the throne of Kedah.
He was educated at Alor Merah and Titi Gajah Malay schools and Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Star between 1946 and 1948. He went on to Wadham College, Oxford and obtained a Diploma in Social Science and Public Administration. He subsequently joined the Kedah Administrative Service, serving in the Alor Star district office and later, the state treasury.
On 6 August 1949 he was appointed Raja Muda or heir apparent and succeeded as twenty-eighth Sultan of Kedah on his father's death on 15 July 1958. He was installed at the Balai Besar in Alor Star on 20 February 1959.
First Election as Deputy King
Tuanku Abdul Halim (as he became), served as Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong between 21 September 1965 and 20 September 1970.
Election as King
Tuanku Abdul Halim was elected as the fifth Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia and served his term in office from 21 September 1970 to 20 September 1975.
He is the third youngest monarch to ascend the throne of Yang di-Pertuan Agong after Tuanku Syed Putra of Perlis and Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu.
During his kingship, Tuanku Abdul Halim presided over the first transfer of power of the civilian government when his uncle, Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman resigned in favour of his deputy Tun Abdul Razak. Tunku Abdul Rahman had felt that he should not serve under a nephew, given strict Malay royal protocol, but agreed to stay on as prime minister for one day of Tuanku Abdul Halim's reign.
Second election as Deputy King
On 2 November 2006, Tuanku Abdul Halim was for the second time elected Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong to serve a five-year term. He is the third person to have been elected twice to this office, after Tuanku Jaafar of Negeri Sembilan and Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu.
Second election as King
In October 2011, Abdul Halim was elected to serve a second term as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong which commenced on 13 December 2011. He is the first person to hold the position twice.  He is also the oldest Malay Ruler to be crowned Yang di-Pertuan Agong at 84 years and 15 days old, surpassing the previous record holder, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz of Selangor, who was crowned at 73 years and 49 days old.
A Council of Regency consisting of his brothers Tunku Annuar, Tunku Sallehuddin, Tunku Abdul Hamid Thani, and daughter Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz will discharge his duties as Sultan of Kedah while he serves his term as King.The official coronation took place on April 11th, 2012 at Istana Negara, attended by the Malay rulers including the Regent of Brunei as well.
Tuanku Abdul Halim has two wives:
- Tuanku Bahiyah, daughter of Tuanku Abdul Rahman of Negeri Sembilan, married 1956. She served as Sultanah of Kedah and Raja Permaisuri Agong. She died on 26 August 2003 at Istana Kuala Cegar in Alor Star.  They have 3 daughters: Tunku Soraya, Tunku Sarina and Tunku Intan Safinaz. Tunku Soraya and Tunku Sarina are twins. The daughters produce 5 grandchildren: three grandsons, Raja Nabil Imran, Raja Idris Shah and Raja Siffudin Muadzam and two granddaughters, Raja Sarina Bahiyah and Raja Safia Azizah.
- Cik Haminah binti Hamidun, married 1975. A commoner from Perak, she was titled Che Puan Kedah until 9 January 2004 when she was crowned to Sultanah. She is serving as Raja Permaisuri Agong during his second term as Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Golden Jubilee Celebrations
On 15 July 2008, Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah celebrated his Golden Jubilee as the Sultan of Kedah. He is only the fourth Sultan in a line of 28 Sultans who have celebrated 50 years of reign in Kedah.
In conjunction with the Golden Jubilee, 15 July 2008 was declared as a public holiday for the whole state of Kedah. A ceremony of handing over the contributions in conjunction with the Golden Jubilee was held at the Istana Anak Bukit on 6 July 2008 by Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak. Throughout the whole week of the Golden Jubilee, various events were held to commemorate the Sultan.
Titles, styles and honours
Titles and styles
- 28 November 1927 – 6 August 1949: Yang Mulia Tunku Abdul Halim ibni Tunku Badlishah
- 6 August 1949 – 15 July 1958: Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Raja Muda Kedah Tunku Abdul Halim ibni Sultan Badlishah
- 15 July 1958 – present: Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah ibni Sultan Badlishah
- 21 September 1970 – 20 September 1975: Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah ibni Sultan Badlishah
- 13 December 2011 – present: Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah ibni Sultan Badlishah
His style and title in full from 13 December 2011 is: Ke Bawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Sir Almu'tasimu Billahi Muhibbudin Tuanku Alhaj Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah or translated into English as His Majesty the Supreme Ruler of Malaysia Al-Sultan Sir Almu'tasimu Billahi Muhibbudin Tuanku Alhaj Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah.
Tuanku Abdul Halim holds the rank of Marshal of the Royal Malaysian Air Force in his full constitutional duties as Commander-in-Chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces as well as the ranks of Field Marshal of the Malaysian Army and Admiral of the Fleet of the Royal Malaysian Navy. Since 1972 he is the Royal Malay Regiment's Colonel-in-Chief.
His foreign honours are:
- Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum - 1970
- Collar of the Star of Mahaputra-1st Class - 1970
- Collar of the Order of Pahlavi - 1971
- Knight of the Order of St John (KStJ) - 1972
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) - 1972
- Knight of the Most Auspicious Order of the Rajamitrabhorn - 1973
- Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III (w/Collar) - 1974
- Nishan-e-Pakistan, 1st Class - 1974
Structures, buildings and institutions
- Sultan Abdul Halim Highway and Sekolah Rendah Tunku Abdul Halim in Alor Star, the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal in Penang, Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital and Sultan Abdul Halim Teachers' Trainee Institute in Sungai Petani and Sekolah Menengah Sultan Abdul Halim in Jitra, Kedah are all; named after him.
- Sultan Abdul Halim Airport in Kepala Batas, Kedah and Polytechnic of Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah (POLIMAS) in Jitra, was also given in honour of his name.
Notes and references
- Finestone, Jeffrey and Shaharil Talib (1994) The Royal Families of South-East Asia Shahindera Sdn Bhd
- Ibrahim Ismail (1987) Sejarah Kedah Sepintas Lalu p209 Penerbit UUM
- (3 November 2006) Bernama Online
- Ibrahim Ismail (1987) Op Cit pp 214–218
- Tunku Abdul Rahman (1977) Looking Back p346 Pustaka Antara, Kuala Lumpur
- "Sultan of Kedah to be next Yang di-Pertuan Agong, for second time", The Malaysian Insider, October 14, 2011
- "Kedah Sultan Reminds Council of Regency To Carry Out Duties With Honesty". Bernama. 2011-12-12. Archived from the original on 2011-12-12. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bernama.com%2Fbernama%2Fv5%2Fnewsgeneral.php%3Fid%3D633575&date=2011-12-12.
- ( 26 August 2003) Utusan Malaysia
- ( 10 January 2004) Bernama Online
- (July 14, 2008) Bernama Online
- (July 6, 2008) Bernama Online
- "Photographs of Tuanku Abdul Halim, Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia". Janus. http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0115%2FY3031B%2F11. Retrieved 2011-04-26.