6.7 Protocols

In any programme, the following procedures must be followed:

  1. Organising formal functions
    1. The choice of VVIP must suit the occasion.
    2. The arrangement of seating must suit the guest of honour by rank or title that he/she carries.
    3. Backdrop and spelling of the important information such as date, time, guest name and title must be correct.
    4. Please consult the respective office for advice.
  2. The management of invitation of guests of honour is as follows:
    1. Confirmation of attendance (alone, with spouse or with friends) should be confirmed with the guest.
    2. Preparing the guest list and confirming the seating arrangement.
  3. Order of precedence
    1. Time of arrival;
    2. Arrangement of parking;
    3. Seating arrangement;
    4. Order of delivery of speeches; and
    5. Salutation
  4. Determination of the order of precedence
    1. Relations to the sovereign;
    2. Senior political positions;
    3. Order of awards & decorations;
    4. High judicial, religious, administrative, professional positions; and
    5. Ambassador, High Commissioners, Envoys.
  5. Seating arrangements
    1. Guest of honour will sit in the middle.
    2. If there is an odd number of guests- the seniority of the officials should be from the right of the most senior guest.
    3. If there is an even number of guests, seniority begins from the left of the most senior guest.
    4. All seats must be tagged in the hall and during refreshments.
  6. Dress Code
    1. The dress code is to be specified in the invitation cards/letters (you may remind the guest of honour).
    2. All guests should wear according to what is indicated in the invitation card, or anything that is appropriate for the occasion.
  7. Reception of VIPs
    1. Leading the guest
      • Preferably by the left side of the guest.
      • Lead the guest all the way.
    2. Ceremonies’ reception
      • A suitable reception to the occasion such as having kompang, bunga manggar or selawat nabi.
      • Line reception is encouraged depending on suitability of occasion.
      • Avoid something dangerous/risky for reception.
      • When a royalty or minister is present, the PR Office should be consulted.
      • Holding room is required for programme involving VVIPs.
  8. Checklist of programme
    1. Duration of event involving VVIPs or VIPs.
      • It should not be more than two hours.
      • Evening functions should begin after adhzan Isya’ except for Iftar.
    2. Time of arrival
      • Student must be ready to receive guest/VIPs at least 15 minutes before the arrival of guest/VIPs.
      • The arrival of others guest should not be more than 30 minutes before the arrival of the main guest.
    3. Du’a / Quran Recitation
      • The du’a should not be more than 5 minutes and the meaning should be related to the programme.
      • The script of the du’a should be checked beforehand.
      • Quran recitation is optional depending on the occasion.
    4. Speeches in the programme
      • There should not be more than three speeches in one programme.
      • The most senior in rank/post should be the last to give the speech.
      • Opening Speech by the Programme Manager/ Host is approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
      • Invited guest (8 – 10 mins).
      • Officiator (10 – 15 mins).
    5. Salutations
      • Starting with the most senior in rank/ position.
      • Not more than three persons mentioned.
      • Other guests should be addressed in general.
      • Prepare the list of people to be given salutation according to the rank/position. The list should be given to each of the people who are giving a speech. It is advisable to consult with public relations office
    6. Gifts and souvenirs for the guests
      • To be presented after all the speeches have ended but before the MC ends the occasion.
    7. Refreshments for guests
      • Light refreshments may be provided to the guest of honour after the end of the function.
      • It is advisable to check the suitable menu for the VVIP’s/VIP’s.
      • Consider guest needs/allergies/sensitivities.
    8. Departure of the guests
      • Usher guest to the car.
      • Line reception as in arrival.
      • Other guests depart according to seniority.
    9. Master of ceremony (MC)
      • Must be presentable & preferably experienced.
      • Clarity in speech and proficiency in languages.
      • Good health.
      • Announcement should adhere to the text and running order.
      • Text must be prepared by host.
      • MC script should be edited by OIC.
      • MC position is preferably not on stage but able to witness what is happening.
      • Good knowledge of the function.
      • Rehearsal of the MC script and flow of the programme.
    10. Functionaries and ushers
      • Have self-confidence and able to work independently.
      • Physically present.
      • Ability to work as a team.
      • Do some homework on the guests and functions.
  9. Hierarchy of VIPs: Outside IIUM
    1. Royalty;
    2. Prime Minister;
    3. Deputy Prime Minister;
    4. Ministers;
    5. Ambassador;
    6. Chief Ministers;
    7. Deputy Ministers;
    8. Parliamentary Secretary;
    9. Chief Secretary of Government;
    10. Secretary General of Ministries;
    11. Director General of Government Departments;
    12. Chief Executive Officers/Managing Directors of Public-Listed Companies;
    13. Other personalities particularly those carrying honorary titles such as Tun, Tan  Sri,  Dato’,  or  conferred  awards  such  as  Ma’al  Hijrah,  Sasterawan Negara, etc. 
      • It is advisable to consult respective office. VIP’s listed from (a) to (e) can be invited for national and international level programmes only.
  10. Hierarchy of VIPs: On Campus
    1. Rector;
    2. Deputy Rector(s) in charge of Academic Affairs, in charge of Research and Innovation, in charge of Internationalization and in charge of Student Affairs;
    3. Executive Directors;
    4. Campus Director;
    5. Deans/Directors (Kulliyyahs/Divisions/Centres)/ Legal Adviser /Chief Librarian;
    6. Deputy Campus Director;
    7. Deputy Deans/Principals/Deputy Directors (Kulliyyahs/Divisions/Centres);
    8. Heads (Kulliyyahs and Departments);
    9. Administrative Officer (Kulliyyahs and Departments)/Fellows of Mahallah.
  11. Forms of Salutation

In the Malaysian society, there is a need to know the correct forms of salutations. There is always an element of sensitivity if guests are not properly addressed. In protocols perspective, it is necessary to address guests or any other persons properly.

The list of forms of salutation in Malaysian society is chronologically listed as below:

    1. Royalty
      • Seri Paduka Baginda(SPB) Yang di-Pertuan Agong and SPB Raja Permaisuri Agong should be addressed as His Majesty or Her Majesty respectively or Your Majesty (second person).
      • There are nine kings, one each in the states of Perlis, Kedah, Selangor, Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu, Johor, Perak and Negeri Sembilan.
      • The Ruler of each state should be addressed as His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness for the consorts.
      • Princes or princesses are to be addressed as His Highness or Her Highness.
    2. Yang Di Pertua Negeri
      • There are four Yang Di Pertua Negeri. They are from the states of Penang, Malacca, Sabah and Sarawak. They should be addressed as Tuan Yang Terutama or His Excellency. In conversation, we may address them as Tun (Toh Puan for the wife) as all of them have been conferred the award that carries the title Tun.
    3. Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Menteri Besar and Chief Minister
      • They should be addressed as Yang Amat Berhormat (The Most Honourable) and their wives as Yang Amat Berbahagia.
    4. Members of Parliament and Elected Representatives
      • All members of Parliament (Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat) and elected representatives of the people are to be addressed as Yang Berhormat (The Honourable) and their wives as Yang Berbahagia.
    5. Judicial and Legal Services
      1. Yang Amat Arif
        • The Chief Justice
        • The President of the Court of Appeal
        • The two Chief Judges
      2. Yang Arif
        • Other judges of the High Court, Court of Appeal, and the Federal Court and the Shariah Court
        • Judicial Commissioners
      3. Tuan Hakim or Puan Hakim
        • Judges of the Session Courts
      4. Tuan Majistret or Puan Majistret
        • Majistret Courts
    6. Federal/State Order and Decorations (some Federal awards carry titles

      as follows) ;
Titles Wife Forms of Address
Tun Toh Puan Seri Yang Amat Berbahagia
Tan Sri Puan Sri Yang Berbahagia
Datuk Datin Yang Berbahagia
Dato'/Dato' Seri Datin/Datin Seri Yang Berbahagia

If the same person is an elected representative of the people, the form of address Yang Berhormat is preferred.

12. Use of Title

1. Malay Language

Table 1 - There are seven types of references to respected guests comprising basic words used in Malay

Yang Mulia For people with hereditary titles only.
Yang Berhormat Used for selected executives who administer the country, state and state / country.
Yang Berbahagia Used for people with special titles conferred either from the government, academic or professional sector.
Yang Terutama Used for Head of state without “raja”/king, such as governor and also representatives of various foreign countries such as ambassadors, high commissioners and diplomats.
Yang Arif Used for judges in civil and shariah court
Yang Berusaha Used for Heads of Departments at federal or state levels and those without titles or conferred with specific titles.


Table 2 - Titles amongst royalty

Honorary Forms of Address Male Female Honorary Forms of Address
D.Y.M.M Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di Pertuan Agong Seri Paduka Baginda Raja Permaisuri Agong D.Y.M.M
D.Y.M.M Raja Perlis Raja Perempuan D.Y.M.M
D.Y.M.M Sultan Kedah Sultanah D.Y.M.M
D.Y.M.M Sultan Selangor Tengku Ampuan D.Y.M.M
D.Y.M.M Yang Di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Tunku Ampuan D.Y.M.M
K.D.Y.M.M Sultan Pahang Tengku Ampuan D.Y.M.M
K.D.Y.M.M Al-Sultan Kelantan Raja Perempuan D.Y.M.M
D.Y.M.M Sultan Terengganu Tengku Ampuan Besar D.Y.M.M
D.Y.M.M Sultan Johor Sultanah D.Y.M.M
K.D.Y.M.M Sultan Perak Permaisuri D.Y.M.M


Table 3 - Honorary Titles

Honorary Forms of Address Male Female Honorary Forms of Address
T.Y.T. (Tuan Yang Terutama) Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Wife of Yang Di- Pertua Negeri Yang Amat Berbahagia
Y.A.B. Prime Minister Wife of Prime Minister Yang Amat Berbahagia
Y.A.B. Deputy Prime Minister Wife of Deputy Prime Minister Yang Amat Berbahagia
Y.B. Minister/ Deputy Minister/ Parliament Secretary Wife of Minister/Deputy Minister/Parliament Secretary Yang Berbahagia
Y.B. Yang Di-Pertua Dewan Negara / Rakyat and Deputy Wife of Yang Di-Pertua Dewan Negara/Rakyat and Deputy Yang Berbahagia
Y.B. Member Dewan Negara, Dewan Rakyat and Member Dewan Undangan Negeri Wife of Member Dewan Negara, Dewan Rakyat and Member Dewan Undangan Negeri Yang Berbahagia
Y.A.A. National Chief Judge Wife of National Chief Judge Yang Berbahagia
Y.A. High Judge/Supreme Court Judge/High Court Judge  Wife of High Judge/Supreme Court Judge/High Court Judge Yang Berbahagia
Y.Bhg National Chief Secretary Wife of National Chief Secretary Yang Berbahagia
Y.Bhg National lawyer Wife of National lawyer Yang Berbahagia
Y.Bhg Army general Wife of Army general Yang Berbahagia
Y.Bhg National Chief Police Wife of National Chief Police Yang Berbahagia
Y.Bhg Chief Director of the Civil Services Wife of Chief Director of the Civil Services Yang Berbahagia


Table 4 - Religious Honorary Title

Honorary Forms of Address Male Female Honorary Forms of Address

Sahibus Samahah

(Tuan Yang Berbahagia)

Mufti - -

Sahibus Fadillah

(Tuan Yang Terhormat)

Kadi / Kadi Besar - -


2. English Language

Address to Government Officials Addressed as (male) Refer to use of titles in Malay Addressed as (female) Refer to use of titles in Malay
Ambassadors / Diplomats His Excellency Her Excellency
Rector / Deputy Rector The Honorable The Honorable
Normal Citizens Sir/Brother/Gentlemen Madam/Sister/Ladies

For further information and confirmation, students should seek advice from the respective office.

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