The official residence of the King of Malaysia is the Istana Negara or National Palace and is located along Jalan Duta Kuala Lumpur near the vicinity of the Botanical Gardens.
Opened in 2011, it is sprawled over 98 hectares and has everything fit for a King.
Distinctively standing out with two large gold domes in Kuala Lumpur, the palace has a total of 22 domes and the 2 main ones are designed like an arrangement of sireh (betel nut) leaves. When illuminated at night, it is a sight to behold. Islamic elements are also evident in the three-dimensional geometry, carvings of Quranic verses and lamps used throughout the palace.
The main dome is 40m above ground and has a magnificent chandelier specially made in Kuala Selangor. The massive dome is surrounded by large round pillars where there are eight paintings depicting the country’s history from the Malacca Sultanate to the present time.
The iconic royal throne room (aka Balairong Seri) is finely decorated with Malay traditional carvings and calligraphy of Quranic verses from handiwork of famous woodcarving masters from Kelantan and Terengganu.
A bit on the Malaysian Monarchy System
Malaysia has a unique constitutional monarchy system whereby the King, who is also Ruler of one of the states that make up Malaysia, serves for a fixed period of 5 years before being replaced by a Sultan from another of the states. 9 out of the 13 states in Malaysia have Sultans.
The King is elected by the Conference of Rulers and in practice the Monarchy has rotated in turn between each of the 9 states with Sultans. As such Malaysia celebrate her King’s coronation every 5 years.
The King, as Supreme Head of State, has roles and functions in matters relating to legislation, judiciary, military, religion, diplomacy and pardoning. He generally acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and is highly esteemed by the people.
A visit to the new King’s Palace is a must for first time visitors to Malaysia. Thousands throng to the main gate to admire its beauty and to take photographs with the sentries or guards mounted on horses. If you are lucky you can catch the daily changing of the guards just before noon time.
The National Palace is included in the tour itinerary of ‘Splendor of Kuala Lumpur’.