After serving for 54 years, Istana Negara, the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in Jalan Istana, ended its function officially on 15 November 2011, with pomp and pageantry.
The ceremony, which began at 9am, witnessed the marching in of the First Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment, comprising two officers and 58 men of various ranks, accompanied by its central band.
A team of flag-bearers then lowered the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s private flag as the last post was being played to signify the shifting of Istana Negara to the new palace in Jalan Duta.
The 11.34ha old Istana Negara, which was the King’s official residence, was originally a double-storey bungalow built in 1928 by local Chinese millionaire Chan Wing and bought by the Selangor Government to be renovated into the residence of Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sir Hishamuddin Alam Shah.
The building was later 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.
Aerial view of new Istana Negara complex at Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur
The new Istana Negara built with Islamic and traditional Malay features is located on a 96.52ha site compared to 11.34ha at the old palace.
A total of 22 domes were incorporated in the new Istana Negara with two domes decorated with overlapping betel designs that would create beautiful illusions at night when decorative lights shine on them. In the main palace lobby, the largest locally-made chandelier, created in Kuala Selangor, adorns the ceiling of the 40m high dome. The dome is as tall as a 10-storey building.
Surrounding the domes, are eight large paintings in the palace, featuring the history of Malaysia from the days of the Malacca Sultanate until the current era, which portrayed the nation’s rapid development.
The new Istana Negara at Jalan Duta was cost more than RM 800 million including cost of flyover to the palace main entrance and upgrading of Jalan Changkat Semantan
The new Istana Negara witnessed the installation of Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah of Kedah as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong for five years from Dec 13, 2011.
This will be Sultan Abdul Halim’s second term as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and he would be the first ruler to have the honour of being coronated at the new Istana Negara.
A ceremony to raise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s private flag started at the new Istana Neagara at 10.25am with the Grand Chamberlain handing this over to a team of flag bearers to signify the commencement of duty of the Malaysian Armed Forces at its square.
As todate the old Istana Negara building in Jalan Istana is still an attraction for tourists although its function as residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong ceased on 15 November 2011. Tourists still gather in front of the palace main entrance to snap photographs and record video as it is regarded as a must-see attraction in the capital.
Most of them feel that the palace has its own historical value and played a role in retaining the monarchy in the country. The palace was a symbol of the sovereignty of rulers.
The old Istana Negara brought memories to a lot of Malaysians