KUALA KANGSAR - Malaysians came out in droves to pay their last respects to the late Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah.
They gathered at the grounds of Istana Iskandariah from 8am to pay their last respects at the palace's Balairong Seri (Throne Room).
Wan Khalijah Kamarudin, 45, a factory worker from Kampung Padang Changkat here, said the public holiday gave her the chance to bring her two children to pay their last respects to the late Sultan who she said was loved by the people.
"My husband and I as well as our children came here by 8:30am. I am touched and happy that the state government allowed the people the chance to enter the palace and see him," she told Bernama.
She described the death of the Sultan as a huge loss to the people, especially those in Perak.
Contractor Wat Son Leong, 36, from Ipoh, said that although he was self-employed, he took advantage of the public holiday to pay his last respects.
"I took the day off to come here as a mark of respect for the Sultan," he said.
A student of the UniKL branch campus in Lumut, Mohd Mujahed Shahidan, 18, said the public holiday was best used to pay his last respects.
"We are saddened over his death and we are very grateful for this opportunity to visit him," he said.
Yesterday, the tributes continued to pour in from all over the country.
Second Finance Minister and Tambun MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah described the late Ruler as truly a "people's Sultan".
"We met up regularly and he would ask about the latest going-ons in the country. I will miss those sessions with him,'' said Husni.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who is the Padang Rengas MP, spoke of his high regard for the late Perak Ruler, particularly his legal acumen.
He cited how Sultan Azlan handled the constitutional crisis which hit Perak in 2009.
"As a lawyer, I could see Sultan Azlan Shah's wisdom in handling the situation. And he handled it very well and managed to prevent the situation from getting worse," he said.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the late Sultan was revered for his professionalism.
Even in the sporting arena, he said the late Ruler used his professionalism to boost his favourite sport - hockey.
"His passing is a huge loss to all of us," he added.
Deputy Foreign Minister and Larut MP Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said the Sultan was also an international figure due to his connections worldwide.