THE passing of the 34th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, marks another turning point in the Malaysian monarchy, the transition from one generation to the next.
Sultan Azlan Shah will always be remembered for his contributions and legacies in many areas, which were all related to the welfare of the people, that of the nation when he was the 9th Yang DiPertuan Agong (1989-1994) and of Perak.
Among his many achievements was holding the highest position in the nation's judiciary, and more importantly for establishing a reputation as a man who adhered steadfastly to the principle of the law and justice -- without fear or favour.
With his passing, the country has lost an esteemed royal who was well mannered, educated and who carried himself humbly with a genuine sense of responsibility.
Pall bearers carrying the yellow-hued Seraja DiRaja (hearse) with the coffin on top.
He left an enduring legacy of lasting values which, over recent years, had been graciously portrayed by his son, the just proclaimed Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.
Sultan Nazrin Shah has on many occasions expressed views on various issues concerning the nation's growth and development that are thought provoking and challenged a paradigm shift on the role of the monarchy institution with regards to the transformation phase that Malaysia is experiencing as a nation.
This has endeared him to the people and can only bode well for Malaysia. Successors of the monarchy who are well prepared to take on the challenges of a new world while maintaining the relevance and wisdom of keeping to a system that have lasted over thousands of years -- effectively debunking notions that monarchical institutions are not relevant in the current order of the world -- are indeed rare and invaluable leaders.
The late Sultan Azlan Shah was a shining example of a monarch who courageously embraced a changing world with wisdom, humility, dynamism and renewed passion to continue to be the symbol of enduring hope and goodness for all.
He was unique in the sense that he experienced first hand both the democracy and monarchy systems of administration. Perhaps, he was the only royal who had gone through both systems of governance in a lifetime.
This clearly shaped his perspectives on both and allowed him the dynamism that changed the manner in which monarchs should carry themselves.
But, above all, Sultan Azlan Shah was the people's sultan. His actions and deeds with the people of every level clearly demonstrated that he viewed people as individuals and not as mere subjects.
His legacy is the continuity of the monarchical system co-existing with democracy to serve a main purpose -- for the good of the people.
May Allah (SWT) bless his soul and make his son a worthy successor and an outstanding and exemplary monarch.
New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 31 May 2014 Sugiman Sabri, Alor Star