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Abdul Halim of Kedah

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Abdul Halim
  • عبدالحليم
Al-Mu'tassimu Billah (He who seeks help from God)
Yang di-Pertuan Agong V and XIV
Abdul Halim in 2012
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
First reign21 September 1970 – 20 September 1975
Installation20 February 1971
PredecessorIsmail Nasiruddin
SuccessorYahya Petra
Second reign13 December 2011 – 12 December 2016
Installation11 April 2012
PredecessorMizan Zainal Abidin
SuccessorMuhammad V
Sultan of Kedah
Reign14 July 1958 – 11 September 2017
Installation20 February 1959
Born(1927-11-28)28 November 1927
Istana Anak Bukit, Alor Setar, Kedah, Unfederated Malay States (now Malaysia)
Died11 September 2017(2017-09-11) (aged 89)
Istana Anak Bukit, Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia
Burial12 September 2017
Langgar Royal Mausoleum, Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia
(m. 1956; died 2003)
(m. 1975)
Tunku Abdul Halim ibni Tunku Badlishah
Regnal name
Al-Sultan Al-Mu’tassimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Al-Haj Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah
FatherSultan Badlishah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah
MotherTunku Sofiah binti Tunku Mahmud
ReligionSunni Islam

Al-Mu’tassimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah (Jawi: المرحوم السلطان المعتصم بالله محب الدين توانکو الحاج عبدالحليم معظم شاه ابن المرحوم سلطان بدلي شاه; 28 November 1927 – 11 September 2017) was the 28th Sultan of Kedah from 1958 until his death in 2017, and served twice as theYang di-Pertuan Agong from 1970 to 1975 and from 2011 to 2016. He was the first and only ruler to reign as Yang di-Pertuan Agong twice, as well as the oldest elected to the office. Immediately prior to his death, he was the second longest-reigning living monarch in the world after Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.


Early career[edit]

Born at Istana Anak Bukit near Alor Setar as Tunku Abdul Halim ibni Tunku Badlishah, he was the second, but eldest surviving son, of Sultan Badlishah (1894–1958; reigned 1943–1958), who later became the 28th Sultan of Kedah.[1] Of Malay and Thai descent, his mother Tunku Sofiah binti Tunku Mahmud (born 29 April 1899), was a Kedah-born princess who died in an automobile accident on 28 February 1934. Abdul Halim's maternal grandfather, Tunku Mahmud, was once Raja Muda (heir presumptive) to the throne of Kedah.[2]

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.[3]

Reign as Sultan of Kedah[edit]

On 6 August 1949, Abdul Halim was appointed Raja Muda or heir apparent, and acceded as the 28th Sultan of Kedah upon his father's death on 14 July 1958.[4] He was installed at the Balai Besar, Kota Star Palace in Alor Star on 20 February 1959, in a ceremony not held since 1710.[5]

Silver jubilee celebrations[edit]

Abdul Halim celebrated his silver jubilee on 15 July 1983 with his royal consort, Sultanah Bahiyah. To commemorate the occasion the Kedah government opened Jubli Perak Park at Sungai Petani, Kedah's second largest town.

Golden jubilee celebrations[edit]

On 15 July 2008, Abdul Halim celebrated his golden jubilee as the Sultan of Kedah. He was the 4th Sultan of Kedah in a line of 28 to reign for at least 50 years.[6]

In conjunction with the golden jubilee, 15 July 2008 was declared a public holiday for the state of Kedah.[7] 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 Chief Minister Azizan Abdul Razak. Throughout the week of the golden jubilee, various events were held to commemorate the Sultan.

Reign as the Yang-di Pertuan Agong[edit]

First election as Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong[edit]

Abdul Halim served as Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong from 21 September 1965 to 20 September 1970.

First election as Yang di-Pertuan Agong[edit]

Abdul Halim in a carriage with Elizabeth II on a state visit to London, 1974.

In July 1970, Abdul Halim was elected as the 5th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia and served from 21 September 1970 until 20 September 1975. He was the third youngest monarch to ascend the throne of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after Putra of Perlis and Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu.

During his kingship, 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 his nephew, given strict Malay royal protocol, but agreed to stay on as prime minister for one day of Abdul Halim's reign.[8]

Second election as Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong[edit]

On 2 November 2006, Abdul Halim was elected for the second time to serve a five-year term as Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He was the first person to have been elected to this office twice.

Second election as Yang di-Pertuan Agong[edit]

In October 2011, Abdul Halim was elected to a second term as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which commenced on 13 December 2011. He was the first and only person to hold the position twice.[9] He was also the oldest Malay Ruler to be installed as Yang di-Pertuan Agong at 84 years and 15 days old, surpassing the previous record holder, Salahuddin of Selangor, who was installed at 73 years and 49 days old. He was installed on 11 April 2012 at the Istana Negara.

During his tenure as Yang Di Pertuan Agong, a Council of Regency consisting of his brothers Tunku Annuar (d. May 2014), Tunku Sallehuddin, Tunku Abdul Hamid Thani, and daughter Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz was assigned to discharge Abdul Halim's duties as Sultan of Kedah.[10] His tenure as Yang Di Pertuan Agong ended on 12 December 2016.

Family life[edit]

Abdul Halim had two wives:

1. Sultanah Bahiyah, the daughter of Abdul Rahman of Negeri Sembilan, married 1956. She served as Sultanah of Kedah (1958–2003) and Raja Permaisuri Agong (1970–1975). She died on 26 August 2003 at the Istana Kuala Cegar in Alor Star.[11] They had one daughter:

  • Her Highness (Yang Teramat Mulia) Brigadier General Dato' Seri Diraja Tan Sri Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz, the Tunku Temenggong of Kedah (previously the Tunku Panglima Besar of Kedah) (born 22 July 1966).

On 3 May 1960, they also adopted the twin daughters of his eldest sister, Tunku Hamidah, before the birth of their only child:

  • Her Highness (Duli Yang Amat Mulia) Tunku Soraya, the Raja Puan Muda of Perak (born 30 April 1960).
  • Her Highness (Yang Teramat Mulia) Tunku Sarina (30 April 1960 – 31 August 1991).

Through Tunku Soraya, who married Raja Iskandar Dzurkarnain, the son of Idris Al-Mutawakil Alallahi Shah of Perak and the Raja Di-Hilir of Perak (the second heir apparent of Perak), they gave him three grandsons and two granddaughters:

  • His Highness (Yang Mulia) Raja Nabil Imran Aziz (born 1987)
  • His Highness (Yang Mulia) Raja Idris Shah (born 1989)
  • Her Highness (Yang Mulia) Raja Sarina Intan Bahiyah (born 1992)
  • Her Highness (Yang Mulia) Raja Safia Azizah (born 1997)
  • His Highness (Yang Mulia) Raja Siffudin Muadzam Shah (born 1999)

2. Sultanah Haminah, married in 1975. A commoner from Perak, she was titled Che Puan Kedah until 9 January 2004 when she was installed as Sultanah.[12] She served as Raja Permaisuri Agong during his second term as Yang di-Pertuan Agong.


Name Birth Date Birth Place Death Date Death Place Marriage Date Spouse Their children Their grandchildren
HRH Tunku Soraya 30 April 1960 None None 24 August 1986 DYAM Raja Iskandar Zulkarnain ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris Al-Mutawakkil Alallahi Shah II HH Raja Nabil Imran
HH Raja Idris Shah
HH Raja Sarina Intan Bahiyah
HH Raja Safia Azizah
HH Raja Sifuddin Muadzam Shah
Raja Sarah Bahiyah
Raja Intan Soraya
HH Tunku Sarina 30 April 1960 31 August 1991 Kedah Royal Mausoleum 198X HH Tunku Abdul Karim bin Tunku Ziauddin al-Haj None None
HH Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz binti Almarhum Sultan Abdul Halim 22 July 1966 None None None None None None


Sultan Abdul Halim died at 2:30 pm on 11 September 2017, at the age of 89 (about 2 months ago before his 90th birthday), at the Istana Anak Bukit in Alor Setar.[13][14] He was laid to rest next to the grave of his late wife, Sultanah Bahiyah at the Langgar Royal Mausoleum in Alor Setar, Kedah on the day after his death.[15]


Military grades[edit]

Abdul Halim held the rank of Marshal of the Royal Malaysian Air Force[16] in his previous 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 was the Royal Malay Regiment's Colonel-in-Chief, and also performed the same functions for the Malaysian Army's Royal Service Corps.

Awards and recognitions[edit]

National and State honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

Places named after him[edit]

Several places were named after him, including:

Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Gallery

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Information Malaysia. Berita Publ. Sdn. Bhd. 1985.
  2. ^ Finestone, Jeffrey and Shaharil Talib (1994) The Royal Families of South-East Asia Shahindera Sdn Bhd
  3. ^ Ibrahim Ismail (1987) Sejarah Kedah Sepintas Lalu p209 Penerbit UUM
  4. ^ (3 November 2006) Bernama
  5. ^ Ibrahim Ismail (1987) Op Cit pp 214–218
  6. ^ (July 14, 2008) Bernama Online
  7. ^ (July 6, 2008) Bernama Online
  8. ^ Tunku Abdul Rahman (1977) Looking Back p346 Pustaka Antara, Kuala Lumpur
  9. ^ "Sultan of Kedah to be next Yang di-Pertuan Agong, for second time". The Malaysian Insider. 14 October 2011. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Kedah Sultan Reminds Council of Regency To Carry Out Duties With Honesty". Bernama. 12 December 2011. Archived from the original on 24 May 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  11. ^ ( 26 August 2003) Utusan Malaysia
  12. ^ (10 January 2004) Bernama
  13. ^ Mohd. Rafie Azimi (11 September 2017). "Sultan Kedah mangkat" [The sultan of Kedah passed away]. Utusan Malaysia (in Malay). Archived from the original on 11 September 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Kedah's Sultan Tuanku Abdul Halim passes away". The Star. 11 September 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Almarhum Sultan Kedah Dimakamkan Di Makam Diraja Langgar". Addin (in Malay). 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  16. ^ "Photographs of Tuanku Abdul Halim, Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia". Janus. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  17. ^ Photo of Sultan Abdul Halim and Sultanah Haminah
  18. ^ "Sultan Kedah terima anugerah Kelantan". Berita Harian. 15 July 1969. p. 1.
  19. ^ "DK 1986". pingat.perak.gov.my.
  20. ^ "DK I 1978". awards.selangor.gov.my.
  21. ^ a b List of Malay rulers (as of January 2013) with details of orders
  22. ^ Badraie Archived 2 March 2004 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Abdul Halim of Kedah
House of Kedah
Born: 28 November 1927 Died: 11 September 2017
Regnal titles
Preceded by Sultan of Kedah
Succeeded by
Preceded by Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia
Succeeded by
Preceded by Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia
Succeeded by