The Istana Negara (Malay for National Palace) along Jalan Istana was the previous official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.
In June 2011, it was replaced by a new, extravagant RM800 million palace near Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur. So in 2013 , this lovely old Istana Negara was converted into the Royal Museum.
The history of the palace began as a double-storey mansion which called The Big House built in 1928 by a local Chinese millionaire, Chan Wing. During the Japanese occupation, it was the residence of the Japanese Governor.
When the Federation of Malaya was formed in 1950, the Selangor State Government rented the residence from the owners for Straits Dollars 5,000 a month until Malaysia reached Independence in 1957. It was then renovated to become the palace of His Majesty the Sultan of Selangor. In 1957, the owners sold the property of 13 acres to the Federal Government at an agreed valuation of Straits Dollars 1.4 Million.
The Federal Government converted the residence into the Istana Negara for the newly created sovereign post of Yang di-Pertuan Agong . Since then it has undergone several renovations and extensions. But the most extensive upgrading was carried out in 1980, as it was the first time that the Installation Ceremony of His Majesty DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong was held at the Istana Negara.
The whole area is fenced up and the Royal Insignia of His Majesty is placed on each steel bar between two pillars of the fence. At the front of the Istana Negara, there is the main entrance which resembles an arch. On each side of the arch, are two guard posts for two members of the royal cavalry in their full dress uniform quite similar to the ones at Buckingham Palace, London. From 2013 onwards, the full dress uniform will be in Malay traditional attire as it was during the Malay Sultanate era.
In the grounds of the palace is a guard house for the members of the Royal Malay Regiment, one of the two Household Division units in the Malaysian Armed Forces (the other one is the Malaysian Royal Armored Corps Mounted Ceremonial Squadron). There is also a six hole golf course, tennis courts and a lake in the far end of the grounds.
The driveway, lined with cypresses and casuarinas, leads to two entrances – an entrance to the West Wing and the other to the East Wing.
The Istana Negara lama is now opened to public.
To see more gorgeous and beautiful photos of the old Istana Negara , do check out my friend, Tatie's blog (In Bahasa Malaysia) as she was one of the privileged few who got to go in and take photos. At other time, no photography is allowed inside the palace.....