Iskandar Polo Club was founded in 1923 by Sultan Iskandar of Perak, who then gave some polo ponies to Sultan Abu Bakar of Pahang on the occasion of his marriage to Sultan Iskandar’s daughter. This started the Pahang royal family’s love affair with polo, and in 1926 Sultan Abu Bakar founded the Royal Pahang Polo Club.
Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad (previously Editor-in-Chief of NST) was at the Malay College in his youth and had this to say about the Iskandar Polo Club and polo in general:
“To the north of the town and north-east of the Malay College Prep School is the big Padang Polo. On weekends (Fridays and Sundays) when we were allowed to go out with friends, I would sometimes saunter along Jalan Rengas (unless they have changed the name, on the way to Istana Mercu) to view the huge, empty, desolate and unkempt Padang Polo on the westside of the narrow road.
“The Padang Polo then was the venue for everything except polo, not even ponies were around. It became temporary football fields for the kampung boys and folks; site for circus and ramvong or joget stages, and MCKK Cadet Corps field practice. The British Royal Commandos and other Commonwealth troops garrisoned in nearby Bukit Mercu also used the padang for various activities.
“Directly opposite the south wing of the new extension to the Big School, the signature building of the famous school, is the Iskandar Polo Club, which resembles more like a junior Malayan Civil Servant’s bungalow and the town padang with a pavilion opposite it across a narrow road, one of the routes for collegians to go to town, the shortest and popular route to the cinema halls and Double Lion.
“Like Padang Polo there were also no paddocks or any sign of horses at the Iskandar Club. Polo playing apparently ceased with the death of Sultan Iskandar, the Oxford-educated and polo-playing monarch of Perak. He was succeeded by Sultan Abdul Aziz, who died, either in my second year at MCKK or may be second term of my first year.
“The lights at the Iskandar Polo Club burned late every night as members played billiards, poker and other games, debated political situations and the future of the Malays. The wife of the caretaker of the club cooked delicious nasi lemak and curry puffs. Though we were barred from buying food from other than 11 approved places which Iskandar Polo Club was not, the seniors found ways to be supplied -with the nasi lemak in fresh, fragrant banana leaves.”
Iskandar Polo Club is now in Ipoh. Throughout Malaysia, prominent Royal Family members are still into this game, which includes Perak royal sons like Raja Aman Shah Raja Shahar Shah.