Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and one of the few countries with an elected monarch. Yang di-Pertuan Agong is Malaysian for the title of this position, of which 'King' is a common alternative. The 14th and current Yang di-Pertuan Agong is Sultan Abdul Halim who is the first ruler to be elected to this position twice.
The King's birthday celebration is an occasion of grandeur and an important holiday for the Malaysians. This year the celebration will be on June 1. Whether you've booked a Port Dickson resort or a hotel in JB, the ceremony will be in Kuala Lumpur and worth making a trip to see the festivities as many Malays visit the capital to witness the celebrations on this special day.
On this day Trooping the Colour is held at Merdeka Square in true Malaysian style. Despite being inherited from the British, they Malaysians take this tradition very seriously. This event done in honour of the King is open to the public but only invited guests are allowed in to the parade grounds.
A parade is formed near the National Flagpole at the Square as the bands, linemen and markers march in. The affair is not solely an infantry activity, in fact the commanders of the Malaysian Armed Forces along with the King in an open top Land Rover inspect the parade of the entire troops who go out in full participation of the Trooping extravaganza. The Malaysian Civil Service's fanfare trumpeters also take part in the ceremonies. All salutes are done in Malay and the Saluting Base is open to invited guests as well as the public to attend and take the salutes. During the performances of that National Anthem, the Negaraku, Flypasts are performed by military helicopters, Armed Forces, the Army, the Navy as well as the Royal Malaysia Air Force. The whole event is much like a performance. After the march ends, in Islamic traditional way, prayers are said. All troops are dressed in their No. 1 uniforms with the band in attendance, sometimes even from the National Defence University. The celebration is broadcast nation wide for those not present. Awards and medals are also presented on the day to honourable Malaysians and cultural shows and exhibitions are held throughout Malaysia in honour of the event.
This ceremony is a symbolisation of the Malaysian Armed Forces' pledge of loyalty to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
After these official traditions are fulfilled, a royal tea reception is held in the National Palace compound on the Sunday afternoon. Up to 3000 guests attended last year's royal tea. Attendees include the royal families and relatives, local representatives, diplomats and honourable citizens. Aside from the royal tea, it has been a custom for hotels to gift the King with specially crafted cakes by renowned pastry chefs.
Despite this day not being the actual birthday of Sultan Abdul Halim it is definitely a grand occassion.