KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — After almost four decades of making the Istana Negara his second home, Rusli Asri, 60, bids adieu to the palace with sadness and pride having served as bentara (palace herald) under 10 Malaysian monarchs.
Coincidentally Rusli, who started his service at the age of 20, during the reign of the 7th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Ahmad Shah, ended his career serving under his son, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on March 30.
Rusli was truly sad to retire and was in tears as he left Istana Negara, the residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong.
“This separation is very painful because 40 years is not a short period of time. I will be lying if I say I will not miss the palace. I am so accustomed to working here,” he said when met by Bernama at Istana Negara recently.
Rusli started his career as an administrative assistant at Istana Negara before becoming a bentara and going on to assume the chief bentara post in 2014.
Rusli’s duties as bentara include holding the umbrella for the King and laying the prayer mat for His Majesty to pray as well as to see to the dress code ethics for guests at palace ceremonies with His Majesty in attendance.
Recounting some of his experiences, Rusli said that despite being chief bentara for a long time, he still felt nervous every time he carried out his duties as he was worried of making a blunder.
Throughout his service under the 10 Yang di-Pertuan Agongs, Rusli said he always poured all his energy into his work, serving wholeheartedly and faithfully.
Asked about his plans for the future, the father of three, said he intends to return to his wife’s hometown in Muar, Johor and spend more time with the family.
Rusli and two other Istana Negara staff who had also retired in March, namely customer service officer Yahya Abdul and another bentara, Ahmad Ali, were granted an audience with Al-Sultan Abdullah on March 26.
In the meeting His Majesty expressed his appreciation to the three staff for their service at Istana Negara.