KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — The Changing of the Guard ceremony resumed at Istana Negara today after it was temporarily halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019.

Watched by local and foreign tourists, the ceremony took place in the courtyard of Gate 1 of Istana Negara, involving the First Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment (1 RAMD) and the 21st Ceremonial Horseback Squadron (21 SIB) under the 12th Brigade Headquarters.

Four officers and 80 men of various ranks from 1 RAMD and two officers and 22 members of different ranks from 21 SIB were involved.

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A total of 14 officers and 185 members from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment and the Cavalry Ceremonial Squadron of the Malaysian Armed Forces pose for a photo during the Changing of the Guard ceremony which took place at Gate I of Istana Negara May 18, 2024. — Bernama pic
A total of 14 officers and 185 members from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment and the Cavalry Ceremonial Squadron of the Malaysian Armed Forces pose for a photo during the Changing of the Guard ceremony which took place at Gate I of Istana Negara May 18, 2024. — Bernama pic

The ceremony began at 9am with the old guards (the ones currently on duty) marching out from within the palace grounds to take their positions in front of the main gate. They were then joined by the new guards, who took their positions facing the old guards.

This was followed by the flag-handing ceremony, symbolising the exchange of guards, witnessed by 1 RAMD Commanding Officer Colonel Awis Ibrahim.

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The 40-minute ceremony was accompanied by the brass band units from the 1 RAMD Brass Band Platoon and RAMD Central Brass Band.

First conducted in 1959, the Changing of the Guard ceremony was opened to public viewing in 1994, following the consent of the 10th Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Ja’afar ibni Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

The Equestrian Ceremonial Squadron participate in the parade in conjunction with the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Istana Negara May 18, 2024. — Bernama pic
The Equestrian Ceremonial Squadron participate in the parade in conjunction with the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Istana Negara May 18, 2024. — Bernama pic

According to Awis, the ceremony is conducted four times a year on specific dates approved by the King.

“Alhamdulillah, today’s ceremony marks the first time it has been conducted during His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim’s reign.

“This ceremony cannot be held at random because it involves the main area of the palace, namely the front gate area of Gate 1 of Istana Negara, which is the main route used by His Majesty for official state affairs,” he said.

He said the palace guards are tasked with ceremonial duties, such as during the King’s coronation and birthday celebrations, adding that the overall security of Istana Negara falls under the responsibility of the Royal Malaysia Police.

He said the guards would be on duty from 6.30am until 6.30pm every day. — Bernama

A total of 14 officers and 185 members from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment and the Cavalry Ceremonial Squadron of the Malaysian Armed Forces pose for a photo during the Changing of the Guard ceremony which took place at Gate I of Istana Negara May 18, 2024. — Bernama pic
A total of 14 officers and 185 members from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment and the Cavalry Ceremonial Squadron of the Malaysian Armed Forces pose for a photo during the Changing of the Guard ceremony which took place at Gate I of Istana Negara May 18, 2024. — Bernama pic