Trucks, trains and airplanes: 5 things about the Sultan of Johor
The Sultan of Johor has a brand new toy – a shiny golden jet.
Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar was present last Monday afternoon (Feb 29) when his Boeing 737-800 jetliner touched down at Senai International Airport after its journey from the US, reported The Star Online.
The 57-year-old monarch intends to use the striking blue and gold aircraft, which bears the Johor royal crest and state flags, to promote the state.
The jet, which can carry up to 30 people, took two years to complete, including an 18-month period to overhaul the interior to include a dining room, bedroom and three galleys.
According to Boeing's website, the average price of a 737-800 in 2014 was US$93.3 million ($128.8m). The figure takes into account the various configurations and modifications made to the aircraft.
While the sultan's newest purchase might have turned heads, it would not come as a big surprise to those who follow him.
Read on to find out more about the man behind the throne.
1) LUXURY RIDES
The sultan is a big enthusiast when it comes to luxury transport – the Boeing is just the latest tip of the iceberg to emerge.
Prior to the news about his golden jet, His Royal Highness recently made the headlines when he purchased the world's most expensive Mack truck, which comes equipped with an array of luxuries like flatscreen TVs, a double bed and custom-built leather seats featuring the royal crest made with 72,000 stitches of gold thread.
PHOTO: FACEBOOK / SULTAN IBRAHIM SULTAN ISKANDAR
Aside from the 737, Sultan Ibrahim also owns other jets as well as several helicopters.
PHOTO: INSTAGRAM / @TUNKU_IDRIS (VIA COFFEETICKS)
While the sultan also has a collection of motor vehicles, his passion for motorcycles – especially Harley-Davidsons – is well known.
He even founded the Kembara Mahkota Johor – an annual motorcycle expedition around the state – to bring the royal family closer to the people in 2001 when he was still the crown prince.
Did I mention that he has a high-performance speedboat?
And while he doesn't own one, the sultan loves trains. He took to the controls to drive the final train out when the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station was closed in 2011.
ST FILE PHOTO
Perhaps it should come as no surprise to anyone when Sultan Ibrahim told The Star upon receiving his 737:
"I want to travel the world like my ancestors who once travelled around in ships."
2) THE PEOPLE'S SULTAN
Sultan Ibrahim has a reputation for being a Sultan Berjiwa Rakyat, which is Malay for people-oriented Sultan.
It's not hard to see why if you take a quick glance through his official Facebook page, which contains photographs and posts like this:
Yes, that's His Royal Highness having his breakfast in a coffeeshop in Muar, clad in a grey tracksuit.
On another occasion in December, Sultan Ibrahim even paid the coffeeshop to serve free food to patrons for the rest of the day.
In January, the sultan donned an apron to cook for five families who had been forced to leave their homes because of flooding.
His humility and willingness to mingle with people have earned him praise from not just Johorians, but Malaysians from other states as well.
Sultan Ibrahim is also a vocal opponent of racism and has endeavoured to promote racial harmony – he became the first royal to attend Johor's annual chingay procession on Feb 28.
3) FAMILY MAN
Another key theme on the sultan's social media channels is that of family.
Amid the many posts about his official duties, Sultan Ibrahim has many depictions of himself and his family.
The sultan and his wife, Queen Raja Zarith Sofiah Idris Shah, had six children before their fourth child Tunku Abdul Jalil Sultan Ibrahim died of liver cancer on Dec 5 last year.
Eldest son and crown prince Tunku Ismail Idris owns Malaysian Super League football side Johor Darul Ta'zim.
4) THE BUSINESSMAN
Being a royal might come with its perks, but Sultan Ibrahim isn't one to take his wealth for granted.
While he receives an allowance, the monarch insists on making his own living and is involved in several business ventures like property development and even a power plant.
He also wants his children to follow suit.
In an interview with The Star, the sultan said:
"I believe it is healthy for royalty to be involved in proper and legitimate businesses rather than to be in dubious businesses that harm the image of the institution. I want to pass this trade to my sons as they need to learn.
"Let’s be honest here, we are a constitutional monarch. I have to earn my living like everyone else. I cannot depend on my allowances of RM27,000 a month. I must earn a living, like ordinary Malaysians."
Sultan Ibrahim was born on Nov 22, 1958 to Sultan Mahmud Iskandar and his English first wife, Josephine Ruby Trevorrow.
As per family tradition, the sultan is military trained and is an officer in all three service branches – army, navy and air force.
Even though he ascended to the throne in 2010 after his father's death, Sultan Ibrahim's official coronation only took place in March last year, at the new ruler's request.