Man of many modes

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - DAULAT TUANKU SULTAN JOHOR - By MOHD FARHAAN SHAH farhaan@ thes­tar. com. my

THE an­nual Kem­bara Mahkota Jo­hor pro­gramme has al­ways been one that en­ables the rakyat to not only get up close with Jo­hor ruler Sul­tan Ibrahim Ibni Al­marhum Sul­tan Iskan­dar, but the en­tire royal fam­ily as well.

Since the first Kem­bara Mahkota started 15 years ago, the rakyat have al­ways looked for­ward to greet­ing Sul­tan Ibrahim and his en­tourage. There have been many sweet mem­o­ries for the Ruler and the rakyat through­out the Kem­bara Mahkota.

Among those is Na­tional Fish­er­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion ( Nek­mat) chair­man Mo­hamad Dol­mat, who bought an old bi­cy­cle used by Sul­tan Ibrahim dur­ing the Kem­bara Mahkota 2010.

He pointed out that the Sul­tan used the old bi­cy­cle to travel from Layang- Layang train sta­tion.

Mo­hamad said af­ter Sul­tan Ibrahim ar­rived, the bi­cy­cle was put up for auc­tion, where he im­me­di­ately went to the front line hop­ing to get lucky.

“Sul­tan Ibrahim drove the train in the Kem­bara where he was trav­el­ling to Ge­mas and sub­se­quently, he ob­tained a lo­co­mo­tive driv­ing li­cence.

“The Ruler was suc­cess­ful in his at­tempt and get­ting a me­mento from Sul­tan Ibrahim in the his­toric Kem­bara would be great for me and the as­so­ci­a­tion as well,” he said.

Mo­hamad said he forked out RM5,000 to get his hands on the bi­cy­cle but it was money well spent. He also said that af­ter buy­ing the bi­cy­cle, he placed it at the as­so­ci­a­tion’s head­quar­ters in Layang Layang and it had at­tracted many vis­i­tors.

“Peo­ple were cu­ri­ous and kept ask­ing me why a fish­er­men as­so­ci­a­tion has a bi­cy­cle in its head­quar­ters, but when I told them the story be­hind it, they were pleased.

“There were many of­fers from peo­ple who wanted to buy this bi­cy­cle. Some even wanted to triple the price that I paid for. But this is a spe­cial gift and I will not part with it no mat­ter the amount of­fered,” he said.

Trader K. Sel­varaj, 49, too had fond mem­o­ries of Sul­tan Ibrahim when he watched a foot­ball match dur­ing the Kem­bara Mahkota in Sega­mat.

“I went to the Sega­mat train sta­tion as it al­ways aired live tele­casts of foot­ball matches on big screens. This time around, there was a huge crowd.

“I thought that was pre­dictable as they were tele­cast­ing a match of Eng­land ver­sus Ger­many. But to my sur­prise, among the peo­ple watch­ing the game were Sul­tan Ibrahim and his chil­dren,” he said.

Sel­varaj added that the Sul­tan in­vited all those around him to come closer to watch the game with him and even paid for the drinks.

“Sul­tan made a joke be­fore the game started that Ger­many will win the match and told English fans not to have high hopes while his sons picked Eng­land.

“His pre­dic­tion came true as Ger­many went on to win the game. Af­ter the match, the Ruler re­minded us to be care­ful go­ing home, es­pe­cially those rid­ing mo­tor­cy­cles,” he said.

The father of three added that he would cher­ish the mo­ment for­ever as not many would get the chance to watch a foot­ball game to­gether with a highly re­spected Ruler.

Tech­ni­cian Ang Soon Kiat, 29, said that he was taken aback when he met Sul­tan Ibrahim at a coffee shop near the Kluang sta­tion sev­eral years ago. He went to the sta­tion to take a train to Sin­ga­pore as he was work­ing in the re­pub­lic.

“I bought my ticket and went to a nearby coffee shop to have break­fast. That’s when I saw a lot of peo­ple, and there were po­lice­men.

“I thought some­thing bad could have hap­pened, but I was pleas­antly sur­prised when I saw Sul­tan Ibrahim right in front of me,” he said.

Ang said he took a packet of nasi lemak and or­dered coffee but there were no seats left in the shop.

“Sul­tan Ibrahim or­dered his body­guards to tell one of his en­tourage mem­bers to give up his seat for me.

“I was seated not far from Sul­tan Ibrahim’s ta­ble and when I thanked him, the Sul­tan gave me a smile,” he said, adding that the Ruler also paid for the break­fast.

The idea be­hind Kem­bara came to Sul­tan Ibrahim when he went across the Cause­way and vis­ited Sin­ga­pore back in 2001 where he saw many peo­ple in or­di­nary clothes and liv­ing in their nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

The Ruler wanted to know his rakyat’s liv­ing con­di­tion as pre­vi­ously, the Sul­tan would usu­ally host his vis­its at re­cep­tion halls where guests would be in for­mal at­tire. Thus, the Kem­bara Mahkota Jo­hor was born.

Sul­tan Ibrahim had used all sorts of trans­porta­tion since the first Kem­bara Mahkota started in 2001, from mo­tor­cy­cles, train, four- wheel drive to boats and even a bus.

This does not come as a sur­prise, as the Sul­tan loves var­i­ous modes of trans­porta­tions, as he owned hun­dreds of mo­tor­cy­cles, cars and even a Boe­ing air­craft.

Sul­tan Ibrahim has a wide col­lec­tion of cars from Amer­i­can mus­cle cars, to su­per cars such as Fer­rari, Pa­gani Zonda to clas­sic Mercedes Benz, Range Rovers, and cus­tom- made Bent­leys.

Sul­tan Ibrahim also has an in­ter­est in lo­cally pro­duced cars as he had bought a Pro­ton Sa­tria Neo, which he fit­ted with the reg­is­tra­tion plate num­ber WWW 1 back in 2012.

He placed all his ve­hi­cles in a big garage fit­ted with air con­di­tion­ing and has his own team of me­chan­ics but Sul­tan Ibrahim, who is known to give at­ten­tion to de­tails, would per­son­ally in­spect and drive his own cars to make sure they are in good con­di­tion.

In 2010, he do­nated 19 ve­hi­cles to the Royal Malaysian Po­lice Force worth a to­tal of RM5.5mil. The ve­hi­cles com­pris­ing nine Aus­tralian- made Holden Com­modore cars, two Pro­ton Per­danas and eight Har­ley David­son 1700cc mo­tor­cy­cles, which have been used as es­cort ve­hi­cles for the Jo­hor Sul­tan and mem­bers of his royal fam­ily.

Re­cently, Sul­tan Ibrahim re­ceived his new “Gold” Boe­ing 737 air­craft that touched down at the Se­nai In­ter­na­tional Air­port af­ter fly­ing in from the United States.

Sul­tan Ibrahim, who is a qual­i­fied pi­lot, said that his lat­est air­craft, which could ac­com­mo­date be­tween 25 and 30 peo­ple, would be used to pro­mote Jo­hor.

“I want to travel the world like my an­ces­tors who once trav­elled around in ships,” he said, adding that he would have to go for his sim­u­la­tor train­ing in Bris­bane be­fore fly­ing the plane.

He also hoped to bring the less for­tu­nate to Mecca for their Haj pil­grim­age in his plane and bring along govern­ment of­fi­cials on his trips.

It was re­ported that Sul­tan Ibrahim would use his newly ac­quired cus­tom- made Mack truck in the up­com­ing Kem­bara. But no mat­ter what kind of trans­porta­tion the Ruler uses, his sub­jects would al­ways be ea­gerly on the look­out for him.

his royal high­ness at the 15th edi­tion of Kem­bara Mahkota Jo­hor at Me­nara Aqabah in Pasir Gu­dang on Aug 24, 2013. Look­ing on is his royal con­sort raja Zarith sofiah ( in pink tudung) and their daugh­ter Tunku Tun Ami­nah ( in grey baju ku­rung). — Ab­dul rah­man Embong/ The star

sul­tan Ibrahim’s new Boe­ing 737 – 82Z jet which he hopes to use to bring the less for­tu­nate to Mecca for their haj be­sides us­ing it for his own trav­els.

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