Savvy and passionate ruler
JOHOR Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar is celebrating his official birthday today in a relatively low- key manner in Johor Baru.
The Sultan wants the celebrations to be toned down due to the demise of his son, the Tunku Laksamana of Johor Tunku Abdul Jalil Iskandar, end of last year.
The Ruler comes from a line of strong- willed, independent and savvy Rulers, who are passionate about developing Johor into a modern and progressive state.
Sultan Ibrahim’s vision for the state is to make it the next economic power house for Malaysia after the Klang Valley.
Last year was a historic moment for the state when Sultan Ibrahim was crowned the fifth Ruler of modern Johor. This ceremony was held in the state after 55 years.
The last coronation in the state was held for Sultan Ibrahim’s late grandfather Sultan Ismail Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim in February 1960.
Sultan Ibrahim’s royal consort Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah was conferred the Permaisuri of Johor title.
The coronation was celebrated with much pomp not just in Johor Baru, but in all the districts as well.
The Sultan takes interest in development policies and projects spearheaded by the Johor and Federal governments, and is always concerned about their impact on his subjects.
Since ascending the throne in 2010, Sultan Ibrahim has had no qualms voicing his opinions or displeasure on various issues.
The Sultan is also a savvy businessman who has invested in an array of businesses both locally and abroad. He is also an avid traveller who wants to visit the world like his ancestors who had done so in ships.
He is a passionate collector of cars and motorcycles both new and old, and has garages packed with vehicles within the palace grounds. His latest purchase is a new “Gold” Boeing 737 aircraft. His earlier purchase was the world’s most expensive Mack truck that has fancy gadgets, including a six- camera CCTV system, two flat screen TVs, a stone- topped kitchen area, barbecue, double bed and seats with 72,000 stitches of gold thread.
Sultan Ibrahim places great emphasis on racial unity and wants representatives from Malay, Chinese and Indian non- governmental organisations ( NGOs) to be part of his committee for the annual Kembara Mahkota Johor expedition to provide feedback and input.
The Ruler is also fond of his annual Kembara Mahkota Johor programme, which has been ongoing since 2001. Last year, he drove around in a bus, interacting with the rakyat and providing aid to the needy.
Those who have met Sultan Ibrahim describe him as a warm Ruler with a colourful personality and a good sense of humour.
He was also touched and awed by the grand welcome he received during the Chingay celebrations attended by thousands in Johor last month.
His passion for sports is also well known. In his youth, he played a mean game of polo not just locally but also abroad in tournaments held in Singapore, the Philippines and Brunei. He was known as the best polo player in Asia during the polo world qualifications in the 1990s.
Sultan Ibrahim also enjoys parasailing, boating ( jet ski), parachuting, shooting and driving sports cars. He once emerged as champion in a falling plate shooting event organised by the army in Pulada.
Sultan Ibrahim, the third of 10 children and the eldest son, was born at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital.
He received his formal education at Sekolah Temenggong Abdul Rahman ( 1) before heading for Trinity Grammar School in Australia and later to the United States to continue his studies in law and diplomacy. He obtained his religious education from Sekolah Agama Air Molek.
After completing his secondary education, Sultan Ibrahim underwent basic military training at Pusat Latihan Darat in Kota Tinggi for three months.
He also received military training in the United States at Fort Benning, Georgia, and later at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
He was appointed deputy commander of the Johor Military Force upon completing his military training overseas. He has trained and served in the Air Force and Navy, and is also a qualified green beret commando in Malaysia and the United States.
He is also a member of the Red Beret Kompasus of Indonesia and a fully qualified divemaster.
As part of his training for kingship, Sultan Ibrahim joined the Johor Civil Service and served in various departments, including the district office, land, health and treasury departments.
In 1981, he was proclaimed the Tunku Mahkota of Johor.
He is married to Raja Zarith Sofiah, a Perak- born princess and an Oxford University graduate. She is also the Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia ( UTM).
The couple is blessed with six children – Tunku Ismail Idris, Tunku Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, Tunku Idris Iskandar Ismail Abdul Rahman, the late Tunku Abdul Jalil Iskandar Ibrahim Ismail, Tunku Abdul Rahman Hassanal Jeffri and Tunku Abu Bakar Mahmood Iskandar Ibrahim.