2014, In The City: KL-related transmissions

Jalan Duta, Jalan Ipoh, Jalan Khidmat Usaha, Lebuhraya Mahameru, Jalan Semarak, Jalan Ibadah

Why should we kick up a fuss? It’s not like we use those roads every day. It’s not like they keep us company. Or that our identity or business cards need to be reprinted, our postmen reeducated. Why consider the maps and guides we need to reconfigure, or innate directions we need to unlearn? It’s not like these changes require any input or feedback from the rakyat. Why bother with that? Just tell us when it’s already happened! The DBKL and our unelected mayor will always know what is best for us. The Cabinet knows what is best for us. We should honour our people, they say, as our cops make us give way in traffic. Isn’t this the best way to do it?

So honour our royals by shredding these men’s names through the lips of GPS voices and tourists. Think of your elite role models in traffic jams and tangle them on tongue and text message when you tell someone where you are in rush hour. Squeeze each regal letter down the throat of a map. Remember the royals, even when we’ve lost our way! But since we’re guided by those who always know what is best for us, why should we ever say we’re lost?

Bonus section— Know your new road royalty

  1. Jalan Duta is renamed after Tuanku Abdul Halim or Almu’tasimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Alhaj sir Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah, has been the Sultan of Kedah practically since Independence. He went to Wadham College, Oxford. His uncle was none other than our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, who decided to quit because he felt he should not serve under a nephew.
  2. Persiaran Duta is renamed after Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin or Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail is the current Raja Perlis. He studied in one of the oldest schools in England and was even trained as a Cadet Officer at the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst, England. His father died the world’s longest reigning monarch.
  3. Jalan Khidmat Usaha is renamed after our seventh Agong Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, who studed at Worcester College, Oxford and Exeter University. There is already a road in Penang named after him, along with one hospital, 3 bridges, a mosque, an Islamic college, a science secondary school, a UNITEN campus, and an annual national football cup.
  4. Bye bye Jalan Ipoh and hello Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah. Wiki notes his father was royal and his mother was a commoner. He was the youngest person ever to be appointed to High Court of Malaya. He was the youngest Lord President of the Federal Court, Malaysia’s highest judicial rank. He sparked the 2009 constitutional crisis of Perak. He is known as the “Father of Malaysian hockey”. To date, he has 7 learning institutions named after him, as well as a royal gallery, an airport, a stadium, a building in UM, two mosques, two roads, a bridge, and an international hockey tournament named after him.
  5. Jalan Khidmat Setia and Jalan Ibadah are now simply Jalan Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, or Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Terengganu Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah. His mother’s family traces back to the modern pioneers of Singapore. He studied in Australia and England. After he became Agong, he appointed his 8-year old son as Regent, but since 8 is a really young age, a council had to discharge the Regent’s duties for him— populated by the Sultan’s uncle, a younger brother, and a former Federal Court judge. His son was then sent to study overseas, so another council was formed to perform his duties, again headed by two of his brothers and the same judge. Currently the Sultan has a a polytechnic, a teacher’s institute, a mosque, a stadium, a(nother) road, and a royal foundation named after him.
  6. Lebuhraya Mahameru is now Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar of Johor. Maybe you should read his wiki page for yourself.
  7. Persiaran Mahameru is now Persiaran Tuanku Jaafar. He went to University of Nottingham, Ballilol College Oxford, and the LSE. He and the Negeri Sembilan royal family were known as the “Royal Family of Sports.” He has a power station, two schools, another fancy boarding school, and a hospital named after him.
  8. Jalan Semarak is now Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra. His brother was supposed to be heir apparent, but was dismissed. He didn’t want to be Agong at first after surviving a stroke, but changed his mind and was elected. He has a bridge and a suburb in Kuching, Sarawak named after him.

Although this name change comes quickly on the annual assembly of the United Malays National Organisation, Khairy was quick to point out that this isn’t a part of the Malay agenda, just honouring some royals who deserve to be honoured is all. Nevertheless, a prerequisite to be an Agong is that one needs to be both Malay and Sunni Muslim (and very very likely a man).