DURING the 2014 massive floods that affected more than 100,000 people in Kelantan, the Sultan of Kelantan, Tuanku Muhammad Faris Petra ibni Sultan Ismail Petra or Sultan Muhammad V, made an unannounced visit to Kuala Krai, which surprised the flood victims.
The Sultan used the name Sultan Muhammad V after he ascended the throne on Sept 13, 2010.
At first, many of them did not recognise Tuanku Muhammad V, who went to a flood relief centre in his old four-wheel-drive truck with a bodyguard. The truck was a gift he received when he was the state’s Crown Prince some 20 years ago.
The publicity-shy state Ruler, now 47, went into the centre without any royal entourage and helped himself to a hot drink there.
At that time, no one among the hundreds of flood victims recognised him. One of the flood victims, who was standing next to Sultan Muhammad V, even commented that he had an uncanny resemblance to the Sultan of Kelantan.
The video of him saying that “the person holding a styrofoam cup looked like the state Ruler” went viral for several days.
This is one of the many attributes of a down-to-earth Sultan, who is popular among his subjects for being informal and devoid of protocol.
The youngest Sultan among his peers from eight other states, Sultan Muhammad V ascended the throne on Sept 13, 2010.
Born on Oct 6, 1969, Sultan Muhammad V became the 29th Sultan of Kelantan after his father suffered a heart ailment in 2010 and was incapacitated by illness, rendering him unfit to discharge his official duties.
Known to be an outdoor man, the Ruler also mooted the ever-popular “Walk With Me” since 2011 as a way to get closer to his subjects.
He received his early education at the Fatima Convent kindergarten, Kota Baru, (1974 to 1975) and completed his primary education at Sekolah Rendah Sultan Ismail 1 (1976 to 1981).
He studied at the Alice Smith School and Oakham School, Rutland, Britain, from 1983 to 1989 and graduated in diplomatic studies and Islamic studies at St Cross College, Oxford, and Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.
The Sultan also studied diplomatic relations and business administration at the Huron University College in London, besides taking a diplomatic relations course at the Deutsche Stiftung Internationale Entwicklung in Berlin and European business administration at the European Business School in London.
Tuanku Muhammad V was made the Crown Prince in October 1985 and the Regent of Kelantan in 2009.
The Sultan was once married to Tengku Zubaidah Tengku Norudin, a member of the Pattani royal family. They later divorced and he has retained his single status since.
An avid reader and fan of four-wheel-drive vehicle expeditions, horse sports, bowling and archery, he also follows closely developments in and outside the country.
He has been going to the ground, meeting the rakyat, often quietly and away from the glare of the media.
Tuanku Muhammad V is also involved in many charitable organisations and has been appointed the Commander of the 506 Territorial Army Regiment with the rank of Brigadier General.
The Sultan was chosen as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Oct 13 at the 243rd (special) Conference of Rulers held at Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur.
In a statement, the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, said the appointment takes effect for five years from today.
Tuanku Muhammad V is a Ruler of the people and he is close to the hearts of the people in his state.
The eldest son of Sultan Ismail Petra, he often refers himself as “kita” when meeting with his people and loves going to the ground, including the interior areas and orang asli settlements in Gua Musang and Jeli.
Tuanku Muhammad V prefers to wear a jubah (robe) or baju Melayu, which is known in the state as baju gumbang with a kain pelikat (sarong cloth) and a white kopiah (skullcap) when visiting his subjects.
He has also nurtured spiritual values among the Muslim community in the state through the organising of Qiam With Me programmes, which are held every year since 2011 during the month of Ramadan.
The programme which starts at around 10pm after the Isyak and Terawih prayers, is followed by a religious lecture from a guest preacher, Qiamullail (Qiam means standing to denote prayer), before performing the Subuh prayers in congregation.
At the programme, Sultan Muhammad V will also present zakat donations to the asnaf (qualified group) recipients and the less fortunate.
Qiam With Me, along with Walkathon D’Raja Kelantan, is included in the state’s tourism calendar and both events serve as unique tourist attractions in Kelantan.
The Ruler always demonstrates sincere concern for the welfare of his subjects and extends assistance to the poor and those in need without seeking any media coverage. For this, media members in the state are grateful and will go out of their way to follow him whenever there is an opportunity.
Daulat Tuanku and hail to the new King as Tuanku Muhammad V takes over as Agong today.