THE Kembara Mahkota Johor programme has always strengthened the bond between the Johor Royal Palace and the rakyat.
The programme was the brainchild of Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar in 2001, as he wanted to see his subjects without any protocols or boundaries.
Since the Kembara Mahkota Johor first started, Sultan Ibrahim has used various modes of transportations, including motorcycles, train, boats and even a bus, to travel around the state.
The yearly event not only allows the Sultan to be closer to his subjects but also to identify and solve problems faced by them.
In 2010, Sultan Ibrahim also managed to get himself into The Malaysia Book of Records by becoming the first Ruler to obtain a Class 26 locomotive driving licence. He not only helmed the train throughout the 391.3km journey but also manually turned the 86-tonne locomotive to get the licence.
According to Johor Media Club president Mohd Fauzi Ishak, the programme has also allowed media members to get up close with the Ruler. He said the club had been appointed as the secretariat for media for the past two years.
“Tuanku has always cared about the well-being of the entourage that follows him during the event, in particular the media.
“We are grateful and it’s an honour to be given the opportunity to cover the event, which is close to Sultan Ibrahim’s heart,” Mohd Fauzi said.
He added that since following the Kembara Mahkota Johor in 2002, he has seen the life of the people, especially those in rural areas, improve each time Sultan Ibrahim makes a visit.
“For example, the roads at villages would be resurfaced for his visit and during the events, Sultan Ibrahim and members of the royal family usually take part in traditional games with the rakyat.
“Sultan Ibrahim will normally take the opportunity to hand out donations to the less fortunate or officiate new schools or public housing projects for the rakyat,” he said.
Mohd Fauzi said last year, he was invited by Sultan Ibrahim to be on the bus which the Ruler drove to visit several districts.
He added that Sultan Ibrahim’s face lit up upon seeing his subjects lining up along the roads, waving and cheering at him.
“The Johor Media Club also suggested to Sultan Ibrahim about the club’s upcoming event in Muar, where we will be using a bicycle to promote a healthy lifestyle, and he agreed to be part of it.
“I hope that the Kembara Mahkota Johor will continue as the programme helps the rakyat to be closer to the Johor Royal family as well as the media members, state government and local authorities,” he said.