Siti Nurhaliza celebrates wedding with lavish dinner

KUALA LUMPUR (AP): Malaysian pop princess Siti Nurhaliza Taruddin celebrated her wedding to a businessman two decades her senior with a lavish dinner banquet Monday for 2,000 guests includingroyalty, politicians and singers from around the region.

Dressed in an embroidered ivory-colored dress and a diamond-studded tiara with matching earrings the size of olives, Siti, 27, emerged from one side of the dais, and her husband, Khalid Mohamed Jiwa, 47, emerged from the other as they meet in the middle to kick off ceremonies.

The ceremony was carried live on TV3, Malaysia’s largest private television station, which dubbed it the “wedding of the decade.”

Siti, one of Malaysia’s top-selling artists, has won numerous awards both at home and in regional competitions since she launched her career in 1996. She is a household name in Malaysia, but also has significant followings in neighboring Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei.

“I am sure Siti only has one wish for Datuk K, that is for him to love her,” said Indonesian singer Kris Dayanti, one of the night’s scheduled performers, in reference to Khalid.

Guests dined on abalone, tiger prawns and fish in a giant ballroom decorated with 15,000 flower stalks as children danced and performed to some of Siti’s hit songs.

Members of several Malaysian state royal families were present. Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and Khairy Jamaluddin, the son-in-law of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, were also among the guests.

The pair had been the talk of the town for more than a year, but both had been tightlipped about their romance. Malaysian newspapers dedicated pages to news and features on Siti’s wedding after the couple formally announced it.

The couple held a traditional wedding ceremony a week ago in a mosque where they officially became husband and wife. Another reception is scheduled in Siti’s hometown in central Pahang state on Sept. 3 for family and fans.

The wedding follows the finalization of Khalid’s divorce from his first wife, Tengku Zawyah Tengku Izham. They have four children, aged 8 to 19. (**)