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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tuanku Mizan

King to make changes at the palace

Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, who will be installed as the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong today, is introducing changes in the way Istana Negara deals with the people and Government.

The move has begun with a revamp of the palace administration itself, with almost 80% of the senior officials having been replaced with those handpicked by the new King.

Royal Household Comptroller Datuk Wan Mohd Safiain Wan Hasan, who disclosed this to The Star, said there would be no more late nights for those who attended events graced by Tuanku Mizan.“Such functions must start by 8.30pm and end by 10.30pm. The Tuanku wants to be fair to the people, and also to government officials who have to carry out their duties.

“He does not want them to return home late at night because of him,” he said in an interview at Istana Negara.

Safiain, who has been entrusted by Tuanku Mizan to oversee the changes, said the monarch has given orders to the more than 200 palace officials to be more efficient and “people-friendly.”
“Tuanku has asked me to implement a special manpower training programme for them, and also to upgrade certain posts.

"The Tuanku does not want monotony in the way his officers perform. We are thinking of providing incentives to exemplary officials.

“As for those who cannot perform up to our expectations, they will have to leave,” he added. There are six divisions within the Istana Negara administration led by Safiain, each headed by a director.

Grand Chamberlain Tengku Farok Husin Tengku Abdul Jalil, who oversees protocol, is the number two in the palace administrative hierarchy.

Safiain described 44-year-old Tuanku Mizan as a “working King” who leads by example. “Tuanku arrives at Istana Negara by 9am from his private palace, Istana Terengganu in Jalan Kia Peng.

“Being young and energetic, Tuanku is prepared to discuss matters with palace officials even at night. Time is no barrier to Tuanku,” he pointed out.

There will also be a change in the weekly pre-Cabinet briefings to the King by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Safiain said the meeting on the first Wednesday of every month would be held at Istana Melawati in Putrajaya.

“Previously, all meetings were all held at Istana Negara. The Tuanku wants to make better use of Istana Melawati, which is the second national palace,” he added.

Meanwhile, the hour-long installation ceremony, to be broadcast live by RTM, will be attended by the Malay Rulers, the Yang di-Pertuas Negri, members of the Royal Household and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, among others - by Paul Gabriel of The Star.