KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 12, 2006): Tears, pomp and tradition marked the farewell ceremony for the royal couple today, the end of their reign as King and Queen.
Before leaving for the official farewell ceremony at Parliament Square, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail and Tuanku Fauziah Tengku Abdul Rashid spent some time with the staff at Istana Negara.
It was a moment of sadness for the staff, and some were seen wiping their tears as they shook hands and bade the King and Queen goodbye.
Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin, too, was seen wiping his tears while Tuanku Fauziah had to contain her emotion when one of the female staff gave her a parting hug.
Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin, who was proclaimed the 12th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on April 25, 2002 for a five-year rotation period, left the Istana Negara about 9.50am accompanied by Minister-in-Attendance, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid and his wife, Datin Seri Normala Samsudin.
Also present were Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan and wife, Puan Sri Wan Noorlina Wan Hussin and Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim and wife Datin Seri Shamsiah Md Yassin
The royal couple arrived at Parliament Square to the sound of trumpets and were met on arrival by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. They were then escorted to a dais and given a royal salute before the national anthem, Negara Ku, was played by the Royal Malay Regiment led by Captain Zailani Mohd Okhtat, accompanied by a 21-gun salute.
Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin later inspected a guard-of honour mounted by 140 members of the Royal Malay Regiment.
This was then followed with the recital of prayers by Federal Territory Mufti Datuk Wan Zahidi Wan Teh.
The ceremony ended with a royal salute and Negara Ku after which the King and Queen left the royal dais to meet cabinet ministers, department heads and foreign dignitaries before leaving for the KL International Airport.
School children and employees from the public and private sector and the public lined the roads at Jalan Parlimen to Jalan Duta to bid farewell.
At the KLIA, the royal couple were given a send-off in accordance with the tradition of the Malay Sultanate.
A procession, involving an elephant and men dressed in traditional palace officials and warriors and women carrying flowers and the "sireh junjung", awaited the arrival of the royal entourage at the KLIA's Bunga Raya Complex. There was also a silat performance by 100 people before the King and Queen boarded a special flight to return to Perlis.
In Perlis, more than 15,000 people of Perlis, including drummers and flautists, waited at the Kedah-Perlis border to welcome their return.
During the drive home to Istana Arau, the royal couple were escorted by 2,000 riders on motorcycles, including 100 superbikes.