The First Generation
The story of Kwong Fook Wing Tailors
must begin with Kwong Keng Cheok, popularly known as Kwong
Leong. In 1894, at the age of eighteen, he left his ancestral home
in Chung Woh Village in the Sam Pat district of the Prefecture of
Toi San (Xin Ning). His plan was to join his father who had
emigrated to Australia during the Gold Rush. Many Chinese migrants
had gone there to seek their fortune. However, for reasons best
known to himself, Kwong Leong disembarked at Singapore without
completing his journey. Bereft of education and skills, as was
typical of migrants then, Kwong Leong laboured as a rickshaw puller.
Life was extremely hard, made almost unbearable by the hot tropical
climate. He toiled ceaselessly for two years. Then, with some
hard-earned savings, he moved to Kuala Lumpur.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there
was an emerging influence of western culture in Malaya. Kwong
Leong was quick to recognise the growing popularity of western suits,
particularly in upper class society. He envisioned a future demand
for the western attire, and foresaw tailoring as a sustainable means
of livelihood. So he acquired the requisite tailoring skills and
began a trade that would cement a legacy of 100 years, spanning
In 1915, after years of hard work and prudent
saving, Kwong Leong established his shop, Kwong Fook Wing Tailors,
at No. 60 Sultan Street, right in the heart of Chinatown. Initially,
he was apprehensive - Europeans might not patronise a Chinese-owned
tailoring shop. Fortunately, he had sharp business acumen. He secured
contracts for stitching and sewing suits from John Little & Company
and from Robinsons & Company. These were the two premier departmental
stores owned by British merchants, catering to the needs of the
European community in Kuala Lumpur. Kwong Leong's business relationship
with these two departmental stores lasted many years. He further
honed his tailoring skills and expanded his contacts, thus adding
value growth to his business.
The Second Generation
Peng Koon was Kwong Leong's only child. In 1929
Peng Koon completed his Standard 9 or Senior Cambridge at the
Victoria Institution. Jobs were scarce during the 1930s years of
the Great Depression. However, Peng Koon was fortunate to secure
work as a tailor and cutter at Robinsons & Company. In the pre-World
War II days, it was rare to have an English-speaking and Senior
Cambridge-educated Chinese taking up tailoring as a career. With
his father as his mentor, Peng Koon picked up the tailoring skills.
He obtained a Diploma for Proficiency in the Art of Cutting
from the Thornton Institute School of Garment Cutting in London,
which greatly advanced his career. Peng Koon's professional qualification
and language fluency made him eminently suitable and qualified to
work in a large Western departmental store. Most of his customers
were top civil servants, planters, and miners of European descent.
In the meantime, as Kwong Leong remained as
the contractor for the two Department stores, he continued to operate
the shop, Kwong Fook Wing, serving local clients until the Japanese
occupation of Malaya in 1941. After the end of the occupation in
1945, business at the shop resumed and improved with the return
of the British.
Peng Koon, with his pre-war work experience
and contacts with both customers and suppliers, did not rejoin
Robinsons & Company. He began to jointly manage the Kwong Fook
Wing shop with his father. Some years later, Peng Koon exhibited
shrewd business foresight when he purchased the shop's premises
from its rich Chinese landlord, Chan Say Peng. He subsequently
rebuilt the property which remains today at No. 60, Jalan Sultan,
Kuala Lumpur. Upon Kwong Leong's retirement, the shop was entrusted
to Peng Koon, the second generation tailor. Kwong Leong died at the
age of 91 in 1967.
Under Peng Koon's management, the shop continued
to prosper. In 1975, No. 60, Jalan Sultan was demolished for redevelopment
into a five-storey building, Kwong Fook Wing moved to rented premises at
No. 51 Jalan Sultan.
His clients included successive British High
Commissioners, British Advisors to the Malay States, top Civil
Servants, senior Police officers, British Army generals, and
other senior British executives in commerce and industry.
Before World War Two, Kwong Leong had an
Austin 7 open-hood motorcar. The ignition was operated by
cranking a rotary handle in front of the engine. He had
an Indian driver by the name of Suppaiah (whom everybody
called Thamby) to drive him around, especially to collect
sewing work from Robinsons. In the evening after dinner,
Peng Koon loved to take his family for a ride to the Lake
Gardens to makan angin. The car was usually parked
on the street during the day, and driven into the shop to
be parked for the night.
The Austin 7 was taken away by soldiers
during the Japanese Occupation.
Peng Koon was blessed with seven sons and
four daughters. Five of his sons - Kim Kong, Kim Tsuan, Kim Nyoon,
Kim Lyew and Kim Hoong - went to the Victoria Institution.
School holidays were a time for Kim Kong, the eldest son of Peng
Koon, to pick up a little sewing work
at the shop. That's where he learned his sewing skills, which
he remembers to this day!
In 1952, Kim Kong was one of twelve
cadets - known as "Templer's Super Twelve" - selected by the
British High Commissioner, Sir Gerald Templer for training
at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He won the Baton
of Honour as the best Commonwealth Overseas Cadet in order of
merit at his intake's passing out. The Twelve were later
appointed as officers of Malaya's first multi-racial Federation
Regiment. Kim Kong was given the honour of leading the
military parade on Merdeka Day, August 31st, 1957.
Kim Tsuan was a model son. After his
graduation, he taught at Maxwell High School from 1966
to 1968. Every month he would contribute RM600 of his RM800
salary towards the shop's repayment of the bank loan, until
his untimely demise at the age of 26 in 1969. Kim Nyoon was
a brilliant economist
and rose through the ranks to be Deputy Governor of Bank
Negara. Sadly he passed away at the age of 51 in 1995.
The second youngest son, Kim Hoong, has
distinguished himself in academia. He was awarded the
Gold Medal at the University of Malaya 1969 Convocation
for being the best all-round student. Today, Kim Hoong
holds the exalted position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor
(Academic) of HELP University.
When the country became independent,
Peng Koon's clients also included several Yang di-Pertuan
Agong, the second Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and
other top politicians in the Government. Testimonials
from his clients are not only an honour awarded to Peng
Koon's business, but also an affirmation and recognition
of his sustained excellence in craftsmanship and service.
In 1977, Kwong Fook Wing was granted a
Royal Charter of "By Appointment to HRH Sultan of Terengganu"
by D.Y.M.M. Tuanku Ismail Nasiruddin Shah.
The Third Generation
Kim Lyew, the current owner of Kwong Fook Wing is
the third generation Khong tailor. Being the youngest son, he
sensed a strong calling to preserve his family's legacy and decided
to forego the opportunity of a tertiary education in order to
fulfill his duty. History repeated itself when Kim Lyew was
mentored by his father, a master suit-maker. He also acquired
his professional qualifications from the reputable Tailors &
Cutter Academy in London. With his strong entrepreneurial and
interpersonal skills, he expanded his business to include
tailoring work for the Malaysian judiciary and an overseas
Peng Koon passed away on 23 January 1997 and
the business passed on to Kim Lyew. In 2013, Kim Lyew was conferred
the award Darjah Setia Tuanku Muhriz Yang Amat Gemilang by DYMM Yang
di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan. This was in appreciation and
recognition of his sustained excellence and dedication in the tailoring
business. This was a milestone achievement, both personally for Kim
Lyew and for the Khong family.
In 2014 the business moved out temporarily from
No. 51 back to the family-owned No. 60 to allow the old building
foundations to be strengthened as part of the MRT underground
tunnelling project. The shop operated from the mezzanine floor
of No. 60 for almost a year before moving back to No. 51 in 2015.
According to Kim Lyew there is now a lot of
competition from shops selling ready-made suits, but he noted that
many of the younger generation have begun to appreciate what a
bespoke suit was and many were coming in for suits of their own.
With three daughters of his own, Kim Lyew has
come to terms with the fact that this 105-year-old tailor shop might
have to put away its scissors and sewing machines for good.
"I am the third generation and I do not think
there will be another who is keen to carry on. All good things must
come to an end, and we have come to almost the tail end of our
endeavour in tailoring."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tools of the Trade:
Cutting and pinking shears made by Wilkinson Sword of England,
originally used a century ago by Kwong Leong and still in use today.
An order from Istana Negara
Peng Koon happily working on endless orders
Khong Kim Lyew receiving the DSTM Award
Seri Menanti, Negeri Sembilan (2013)
A century of courteous, inimitably excellent service....
.... in a fast changing neighbourhood.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Notable Clientele over the Years
Tan Sri Mubin Sheppard, Malaysian Cultural Historian
Arriving in Malaya as a cadet in the Malayan Civil Service
before the war, Mubin Sheppard, then Mervyn Cff Sheppard,
was introduced to Peng Koon at Robinsons and Company. His first
tropical weight suit was a perfect fit and attracted favourable
comment from the wife of the Chief Secretary to Government at
King's House (now Carcosa) where he was posted as Private Secretary.
In the years that followed, Sheppard continued to
ask Peng Koon to make dinner jackets, suits and bush jackets,
although he no longer lived in Kuala Lumpur.
When Sheppard returned to Kuala Lumpur after
the horrors of the Japanese Occupation, he was relieved to find
that his tailor had survived and had set up Kwong Fook Wing in
For almost half a century, he had only one tailor
in Peng Koon and, later, Kim Lyew. Father and son adapted their
skills to whatever was the current fashion, and whatever Sheppard
asked them to design and cut was always a model of perfection.
Sir Harold Briggs, Director of Operations (1950-1951)
Lt-General Sir Harold Briggs was the Director of Operations during the
Malayan Emergency. Under the Briggs' Plan, the rural population living
in squatter commmunities on the fringes of the jungle was relocated to
guarded camps called "New Villages." This was a successful military strategy
to defeat the Malayan Communists by cutting them off from their sources of
food and other supplies.
Sir Harold was introduced to Kwong Fook Wing by the
another client, Sir Henry Gurney, High Commissioner of Malaya from 1948
Sir Gerald Templer, Malayan High Commissioner (1952-1954)
Sir Gerald was known as the Tiger of Malaya during the
Malayan Emergency. He succeeded Sir Henry Gurney as High Commissioner
after the latter was assassinated during the darkest period of the Emergency.
Templer's tactics against the communists eventually helped stabilise the
situation by 1954.
Lady Templer and her daughter, Frances Jane, were first
introduced to Kwong Fook Wing in 1952 by Mubin Sheppard. When their order
was delivered to King's House, General Templer - a man "who was not easy
to please" - was impressed with the workmanship. The general was not
satisfied with the quality of work of a European tailor in Weld Road.
Therafter, the Templers became clients until they returned to Britain.
Sir Robert Thompson, Counter-Insurgency Expert
Sir Robert was a British military officer
based in Malaya during the Emergency who was later
regarded as the world's leading expert on countering rural
guerrilla insurgency. He was the son-in-law of Sir Alec Newboult,
Chief Secretary of the Federation of Malaya (1946-1950), who was
a Kwong Fook Wing client as well.
After Merdeka, Sir Robert became Permanent
Secretary for Defence for Tun Abdul Razak. In response to a
request from President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam, Tunku
Abdul Rahman sent a team, headed by Sir Robert, to that country
to advise Diem on how to counter his insurgency problems. Diem
was so impressed that he asked the British to second Sir Robert
to Saigon as an advisor to the British Military Mission.
In 1962, when Peng Koon's sons, Kim Tsuan
and Kim Nyoon, went on a South Vietnam study tour organised by
the University of Malaya, their ship docked at Saigon. Sir Robert,
who was still ordering his suits from Peng Koon in Kuala Lumpur,
personally sent a car to drive Khong brothers to the city.
Sir Geoffrey Bourne, GOC Malaya (1954-1956)
Sir Geoffrey, General Officer Commanding, succeeded Sir Harold Briggs
in the prosecution of the military operations during the Malayan Emergency.
He patronised Kwong Fook Wing well into the 1960s, even after he was
created a life peer with the title of Baron Bourne. He founded a school,
Bourne School, in Kuala Lumpur for children of British Army personnel.
His son, Michael, who was briefly in Malaya with him was also a client
and later introduced many of his friends to the shop.
Sir Geoffrey was later Commander-in-Chief, Middle
East Land Forces in 1957 and Commandant of the Imperial Defence
College between 1958 and 1959. He was also Aide-de-Camp General
to Queen Elizabeth in 1959 and 1960.
Graham Greene, Writer
Graham Greene was an English novelist and author who is regarded as
one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century. His books include
The Power and the Glory (1940), The Heart of the Matter
(1948), The Quiet American (1955), and Our Man in Havana
Graham Greene spent some time in Malaya in the early
1950s on assigment as a travel writer and on "a sort of holiday." He
wrote an article on the Malayan Emergency for the July 1951 issue of
LIFE magazine. When he was in Kuala Lumpur, he stayed with his brother,
Carleton Greene, a psychological warfare expert with General Briggs.
Sir Donald MacGillivray, Malayan High Commissioner (1954-1957)
Sir Donald was Templer's Deputy before succeeding him as
the last British High Commisioner. Under his watch, the insurgency movement,
though not yet defeated, was brought under control, enough for him to preside
over the first countrywide elections. These were won by the Alliance Party
which subsequently negotiated Malayan independence from Britain. Sir Donald's
final official duty was at the Merdeka Stadium on August 31st 1957.
A day before Merdeka, Sir Donald penned a letter of
appreciation to Kwong Fook Wing, declaring that he had been a client for
more than five years and had had his suits, shorts and bush jackets made by
Members of the Reid Commission 1956
In March 1956, an independent commission to draw up a constitution for a fully
self-governing and independent Malaya was set up. Accordingly, a commission
headed by Lord William Reid, and consisting of constitutional experts from
fellow Commonwealth countries was appointed by the Queen Elizabeth II and
the Malay Rulers. The Reid Commission consisted of:
Lord Reid - United Kingdom (Chairman);
Sir Ivor Jennings - United Kingdom; Sir William McKell - Australia;
Chief Justice B. S. Malik - India; and Chief Justice Halim bin Abdul Hamid
They met 118 times between June and October 1956. Three
members of the Commission - Lord Reid, Justice Malik and Sir Ivor -
took the opportunity between meetings to have suits made at Kwong Fook Wing.
Sir David Watherston, Cobbold Commission 1962
Sir David was the last British Chief Secretary of Malaya, from 1952 to 1957.
He was a client of Kwong Fook Wing dating back to the early 1950s.
His last Far East assignment was as a member of the Cobbold
Commission, a Commission of Enquiry set up to determine whether the people of
North Borneo (now Sabah) and Sarawak supported the proposal to create the
Federation of Malaysia consisting of Malaya, Brunei, Singapore, North Borneo,
and Sarawak. The members were:
Sir Cameron Fromanteel Cobbold, former Governor of the
Bank of England, also Chairman of the Commission of Enquiry; Sir Anthony
Foster Abell, former British Governor of Sarawak and the High Commissioner
to Brunei; Sir David Watherston; Wong Pow Nee, the Chief Minister of Penang;
and Ghazali Shafie, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tun Tan Siew Sin, Minister of Finance (1959-1974)
Tun Tan Siew Sin patronized Kwong Wing Fook before 1957.
He favoured a simple, yet classic style. His shirts were always white,
tailored from the baby sharkskin fabric that he bought from the U.S.
through Ambassador Ong Yoke Lin. Tun Tan was a man who valued frugality
His suit orders were standard: A jacket with three
pairs of trousers - so he could wear his suits for a longer period of
time. Fittings were always done at the shop after 6:30 pm as he was
used to work late hours every day. Why always at the shop? Being a
Finance Minister, he had an eye for detail; their fitting room had (and
still has) front and back mirrors where he could see the fit from all
The soft-spoken Tun Tan was also a caring person;
he often enquired whether Tun Razak had visited the shop yet as he
had highly recommended them to him.
Tun Abdul Razak, the Second Prime Minister (1970-1976)
Kim Lyew fondly recalls how the late finance
minister, Tan Siew Sin, was the first to recommend Kwong Fook
Wing to Tun Razak to get his suits fitted.
"Tun Razak finally came to know us through a
person named Wan Baharuddin, the Malaysian education attaché
in London. He would stay with Razak whenever he returned to
Malaysia. In the early 1970s, Razak had passed Baharuddin
a piece of material which the attaché brought to our
shop to have a suit made.
"Tun Razak liked the suit, enquired where
he had it made and recalled that Tan Siew Sin had recommended
Kwong Fook Wing to him earlier."
The very next day, Kim Lyew and his father,
Peng Koon, were invited to the Prime Minister's house, Sri Taman,
to make the first of many suits. They were welcomed with tea
and kuih-muih before proceeding with business. The Prime
Minister was a man of very simple tastes, Kim Lyew recalled.
His house had no exquisite furniture.
Tun Razak made it a point to pay a visit to
the shop because he wanted to find out where the Kwong Fook Wing
Kwong Fook Wing tailored the Tun's uniform as
Chief of the Malaysian Red Cross. He wore his uniform for the first
time at the World Red Cross Day Parade at the Selangor Padang
on May 7, 1972.
Kwong Fook Wing also made the suits that Tun
Razak wore during his historic trip to China in May 1974. When
Tun returned from the trip, he presented Peng Koon with a
photograph of himself shaking hands with Chairman Mao Zedong,
as an appreciation of his service. "Kwong," he wrote, "We are
lucky to be in Malaysia as we are able to have many clothes.
In China, even Chairman Mao has only two suits a year!"
"Kwong, don't make them too fitting. I am going
to put on some weight." Those words of the late Tun Razak are
still fresh in Kim Lyew's mind despite a passage of over forty
years. During the final five years of serving him, Tun had an
average of three suits made every month as he continued to lose
While he was in London in late 1975 for his medical
treatment, he ordered three suits, through Tun Omar Ong who visited
him. Tun needed the suits for the Asean Heads of Government meeting
in Bali in January 1976. Tun Omar said, "Tun says you know his taste,
color and pattern. He leaves everything to you." His fitting
appointment was scheduled for Wednesday, January 14, 1976 in Kuala
But, alas, on that very day itself, to the
shock of the nation, Tun died of leukemia in England at the age
of 54. It was an emotional parting of the suits when they were
Tun Dr Ismail, Minister of Home Affairs/Deputy
Dr Ismail was Malaya's first ambassador to Washington
and Permanent Representative to the United Nations. After
serving in a variety of cabinet positions from Minister
of Commerce to Minister of Foreign Affairs to Minister
of Justice, he resigned in 1967 for health reasons.
The events of May 13, 1969 resulted
in Dr Ismail being drafted back to the government as
Minister of Home Affairs. In September 1970, he was made
Deputy Prime Minister by Tun Abdul Razak.
As a Kwong Fook Wing customer, Tun Dr Ismail was a no-nonsense
man, but once one got to know him, he was a practical man
who accepted suggestions, even from his humble tailor. If
not for the cruel blow of fate that befell him and the
country on 2 August, 1973, Kim Lyew feels that Malaysia's
history and destiny would surely have been entirely different
from what it is today.
Tun Omar Ong Yoke Lin, President, Dewan Negara (1973-1980)
Tun Omar Ong, a prewar Victorian, was in the Alliance delegation
led by Tunku Abdul Rahman that flew to London in 1956 and 1957
to negotiate for Malaya's independence from Britain.
Ever the great diplomat, Tun Omar was
unfailingly polite and never failed to charm everybody, including
a layman like Kim Lyew. His fitting appointments were looked
forward to as he would share his diplomatic experiences during
his long term as Malaysia's Ambassador to the United States
Tun Omar possessed a natural gift for
diplomacy. Kim Lyew remembers his account: "Even John and
Jacqueline Kennedy and LBJ and Lady Bird were so charmed by me!"
He said this not out of pride, but to illustrate the effectiveness
of good diplomacy. Tun Omar was an amazing and inspiring
Kim Lyew benefited much from Tun Omar's
informal lessons on the value of life and the importance of
diplomacy, which he treasures to this day. "Behind every
successful man is a great woman." And surely through the
years of contact with her husband, Toh Puan Aisyah Ong comes
across as the great woman behind the Tun's success. She is
admired by many for her unconditional kindness, her
devotion to her family and her unwavering commitment to
serve society and the community.
British High Commissioners, Post-Merdeka
Kwong Fook Wing served three post-Merdeka British High Commissioners,
all of whom gave glowing recomendations to others:
Sir Geofroy Tory (1957 - 1963) was a gifted
linguist who first joined the prewar dominions/colonial service.
As British High Commissioner of Malaya, he was involved in
negotiations leading to full independence and the formation
of Malaysia in 1963.
Lord Antony Head (1963 - 1965) served during
the tense period of confrontation between Malaysia and Indonesia,
overseeing Britain's defence commitments to Malaysia.
Sir John Johnston (1971 - 1974) was,
from 1956 to 1957, head of the Far Eastern Department of the
Colonial Office concerned with negotiating the independence
constitution of Malaya. He represented the British government
at the Merdeka celebrations.
Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent
When Lord Head was the British High Commissioner to Malaysia,
he brought Princess Marina, the Duchess of Kent and sister-in-law
of the late King George VI, to Kwong Fook Wing. She enquired
if Peng Koon could tailor some suits for her son, Prince Edward.
However, he could not oblige as he did not have the Duke's
Nevertheless, the Princess purchased
some Moygashel linen, the world's highest quality Irish
linen, as she was very impressed with the pair of linen
trousers that had been tailored earlier for Lord Head.
Ambassadors and PMs
Foreign Ambassadors and even a visiting Prime Minister were also full of
praise for Kwong Fook Wing's fine workmanship and courteous service:
Sir Robert Menzies was Prime Minister of Australia from
1939 - 1941 and 1949 - 1966. During his second term, Australia contributed
troops to the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, and the Indonesia-Malaysia
confrontation. He had a suit made while on a visit to Malaya in 1959.
Mr. Thomas K. Critchley was the Australian High Commissioner
(1955 - 1965);
Dr. Robert Van Gulik was the Netherland's Ambassador (1959 - 1963);
A former soldier who saw action in World War Two, Col.
Charles Moihi Te Arawaka Bennett, the New Zealand High Commissioner
(1959 - 1963), was his country's first Maori diplomat;
Dr Mario Filo della Torre was the Italian Ambassador (1959 - 1963),
followed later by Mr. Pier Marcello Masotti (1972 - 1976);
Mr. Arne Fältheim, was the Swedish Ambassador (1976 - 1981);
Following his term of service in Malaya (1975 - 1979), Mr.
Donald McDonald Gordon, the British Deputy High Commissioner, was posted to
Cyprus. There, as he wrote to Kim Lyew, he found his Kwong Fook Wing-made
light-weight and London-weight suits perfect for the Cypriot hot summers
and mild winters.
Zain Azahari, Lawyer and Art Collector
Zain Azahari, an ex-Victorian and prominent lawyer and founder of
Zain & Co., has been a Kwong Fook Wing client for six decades. He is
one of Malaysia's most respected art collectors of modern and contemporary
Malaysian art. The Zain Azahari Collection stands at over 1,000 pieces
and is acknowledged to be one of the most significant private collections
His late father, Tan Sri Zainal Abidin, and his late
brother, Tan Sri Zain Azraai, former VI School Captain and Malaya's
permanent representative at the United Nations also had their suits
made at Kwong Fook Wing.
The Fourth Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Fitting appointments with Kwong Fook Wing's distinguished client,
Tuanku Ismail Nasiruddin Shah of Trengganu, were either at Istana
Negara (during the period when he was the Agong from 1965 to 1970)
or at Istana Trengganu at Jalan Kia Peng or even at Istana Badariah
in Kuala Trengganu.
So curious was the Tuanku about the location of
his tailor that one day his car stopped in front of the shop at 60,
Sultan Street and he got out. Caught by surprise, Peng Koon could
only offer him a glass of orange crush before the royal visitor left.
Whenever Kim Lyew's trips took him to the Trengganu
capital, he would be well taken care of. Tuanku Ismail would never fail
to express his interest in the welfare of the family. Once he even took
Kim Lyew out on his motorboat for a late afternoon cruise in the South
Tuanku graciously granted Kim Lyew's request for a
royal charter in 1977.
(In neighbouring Kelantan, Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum
Sultan Muhammad was also a Kwong Fook Wing client in the fifties.)
The Fifth Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, the Sultan
of Kedah, served as the fifth Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia
from 1970 to 1975, and again as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong
from 2011 to 2016. He was the first person to reign twice
as Malaysia's monarch, as well as the oldest elected to the
In 1974, Kwong Fook Wing tailored the suits
for his Majesty's state visit to Britain to meet with Queen
Elizabeth II. Later, an autographed photo dated July 9th 1974
was received from the King showing the Duke of Edinburgh, the
Raja Permaisuri Agong, the smartly dressed Yang di-Pertuan
Agong and Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Three Future Sultans
The first week of April 1967 was a memorable time
for Kwong Fook Wing: three princes - from Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu
and Perak - patronised the shop. These three princes later became
rulers of their respective states. Tuanku Mahmud was proclaimed as
Sultan of Terengganu in 1979, while Raja Azlan Shah became the
Sultan of Perak in 1984 and Tunku Muhriz the Yang di-Pertuan Besar
of Negeri Sembilan in 2008.
Tuanku Muhriz, Yang di-Pertuan Besar, Negeri Sembilan
Tunku Mustapha ibni Tunku Besar Bahanuddin,
of Negeri Sembilan was a customer of Kwong Fook Wing well before
Merdeka. In 1966, Tunku Mustapha brought along his 18-year-old
nephew, Tunku Muhriz, Tunku Besar Seri Menanti, to make a dinner
When Tuanku Muhriz was proclaimed the 11th
Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan in December 2008,
Kim Lyew was given the privilege and honour to make Tuanku's
kain songket royal attire for his installation on
26 October 2009. The ceremony was especially significant for
the people of Negeri Sembilan as it heralded a new ruler
after 40 years!
The Discovery Channel was granted unprecedented
access to the palace to produce a documentary showcasing the
uniqueness and the rich culture and heritage of the Negeri
Sembilan monarchy. During the filming of the preparations preceding
Tuanku's installation at Istana Hinggap in Seremban, Kim Lyew
was honoured to be invited to be present for Tuanku's fitting
and was featured in the documentary which was shown worldwide.
With acknowledgements to Dato' Khong Kim Lyew for his permission
to use material from the Kwong Fook Wing 2015 Centennial Souvenir.