Malay Sultanate guards to man old Istana gateway

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 (Bernama) -- From Jan 1 next year, two guards in Malay traditional attire will be stationed at the main gateway of the old Istana Negara here to revive the nostalgia and tradition of the Malay Sultanate of old.

Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said today this practice to revive the ambience of the environment of those days would help retain the old palace as a must-visit tourist destination.

Visitors and tourists would be able to get a feel of the nostalgic environment of the past as recorded in history books on the Malay Sultanate of old, he told reporters after a presentation of skills by Malay warriors in front of the old Istana Negara.

The practice would revive and portray the grandeur of the tradition of the old Malay Sultanate and ensure that it was safeguarded for the future generations and not forgotten, he said.

"I am confident that in this way we can draw more visitors to see for themselves how palaces were guarded in the olden days for we will retain the ambience of the environment," he said.

It is believed that this initiative would ensure that the old Istana Negara would continue to be a tourism product of the country, he added.

Rais also said that from next year, several rooms and halls of the old Istana Negara would be opened to visitors to learn of their use during the reign of the 13 Yang di-Pertuan Agong who had lived there.

He said an inventory would be drawn up of the collections at the palace in the effort to preserve them.

"I request the Royal Malaysia Police and the Department of Museums to collaborate in managing the collections," he said.

Rais was accompanied on the visit to the old Istana Negara by ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Kamaruddin Siaraf and the director-general of the Department of Museums, Datuk Ibrahim Ismail.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim said the department would station tourist guides to explain the functions of the palace rooms and halls to visitors.

He also said that the "Raja Kita" exhibition at the old Istana Negara from April this year, in conjunction with the installation of Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, would be extended in view of the encouraging response from local and foreign visitors.

Between April 15 and yesterday, the exhibition recorded 314,757 local and foreign visitors.

"The exhibition is aimed at reminding the younger generations to appreciate the significance of the institution of the monarchy as well as to portray its greatness and the role of the rulers," he said.