Siaran Langsung Istiadat Kemahkotaan DYMM Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Johor Pada 23 Mac 2015

Jumaat, 20 Mac 2015

Crowning of 5th Johor sultan

July 29, 1886, saw Johor creating history with the first-ever coronation of a Malay ruler witnessed in Malaya, that of Sultan Abu Bakar.

Since then, there have been two more coronation ceremonies for the Johor Sultanate.

Sultan Sir Ibrahim was crowned on Nov 2, 1895. Johor and the nation then waited 65 years for the coronation of Sultan Ismail on Feb 10, 1960.

The coronation of Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar will be held on Monday.

The 55-year gap is because the late Sultan Iskandar, who ascended the throne on May 10, 1981, and passed away on Jan 22, 2010, did not wish to be crowned.

His Royal Highness Sultan Ibrahim had chosen May 5 to reflect the fact that he was the fifth sultan of modern Johor.

A coronation is defined as an act of placing a crown on the head. Since Johor is the first Malay state to have a crown for its ruler, it is correct to assume the terminology “coronation.”

Rulers of other states undergo an installation ceremony on their accession to the throne.

States like Selangor, Kelantan and Terengganu commissioned crowns for their rulers 30 years after Johor, but do not hold a coronation ceremony.

Instead, the rulers are installed and crowned at the same time.

In Johor, the coronation of the sultan is not a legal requirement but a hereditary and customary tradition to enhance the daulat (divine element of kingship) of the ruler.

On the demise of a ruler, the Jumaah Pangkuan Negeri (Council of the Supporters of the Country) confirms and appoints the heir apparent as the new ruler, who then takes the oath of office.

Prior to the burial of the late ruler, the menteri besar proclaims the heir as sultan and sovereign ruler followed by three cries of “Daulat Tuanku” (Hail the King).

The oath as prescribed in the First Schedule of the Johor State Constitution of 1895 and the proclamation fulfil the legality of the appointment.

The coronation ceremony may be held at any time the ruler so desires.

The rulers of the ancient kingdom of Johor (Johor Lama) under the descendants of the Malacca Sultanate and the Bendahara dynasty assumed the title of “sultan”.

When he took possession and ownership of the state and government of Johor except the province of Kesang, a territory between the Kesang and Muar rivers, from Sultan Ali following a cessation agreement in 1855, Temenggong Ibrahim did not use the title “sultan” in deference to Sultan Ali, who clamoured for recognition although he no longer possessed Johor.

Abu Bakar continued to use the title of Dato’ Temenggong Sri Maharaja upon his accession to the throne, later truncating it to Maharaja.

Aware that the title of “sultan” will elevate his status and authority above the British governor and at par, if not higher, with other Malay rulers, Abu Bakar took steps to obtain the title.

The Malay rulers and the British regarded Abu Bakar as nobility, but had no right to the throne although he possessed royal lineage from the old kingdom of Johor.

Some Malay rulers shunned him at ceremonies. He was ridiculed by the descendants of Sultan Hussain, the sultan of Johor who was conveniently installed by Sir Stamford Raffles in order to fulfil British political control and trade.

The British feared that Abu Bakar as sultan may influence the Malay rulers against them. Abu Bakar sought advice from his kinsmen in Riau for use of the title. His crowning glory came in 1885 through the Treaty of Friendship, when the British recognised him and his heirs to the Johor throne as sultan of Johor, 23 years after ascending the throne.

Malay traditionalists believe as a fountain of justice, a ruler must possess an aura of sanctity, or daulat, an institutional charisma and a supreme expression of the quality of majesty to protect his command and his dignity.

Daulat is the foundation of legitimation comprising several related elements, including ownership of the state, political legitimacy and rules of succession, a legal and recognised status, a people to rule, regalia and a set of laws.

By 1879 Abu Bakar had full ownership of Johor when Kesang became a territory of the state, recognised with a legal status, a population to rule, and feudal and Islamic laws to be adhered to.

He wanted a more tangible symbol to confirm his sovereignty. He commissioned a crown and the insignias of authority as part of regalia for his coronation.

To complement the heraldry, he designed flags, a coat-of-arms and instituted two orders of chivalry, the Darjah Kerabat Yang Amat Dihormati (Most Esteemed Order of the Royal Family) and the Darjah Mahkota Johor Yang Amat Mulia (Most Honourable Order of the Crown of Johor).

On Feb 13, 1886, Abu Bakar was officially proclaimed by the Dato’ Menteri Besar Jaafar Mohammad as sultan of Johor at a simple, but historic ceremony at the Throne Room of the Istana Besar: “Here ye all who are in attendance, that His Highness Maharaja of Johor, Abu Bakar, our beloved Raja had adopted the new title of Sultan of Johor and its territory as has been acknowledged by Her Majesty Queen Victoria of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India as was dictated in the latest Treaty between the government of Her Majesty and His Highness.

“Therefore, we should all thank God of All Universe for His Blessing and, therefore, on this day it is announced and we should all know of the new title and refer His Highness Sultan for the State and Territory of Johor, and we should notify it to our family members and friends who are not in attendance today for this announcement.”

A grand coronation ceremony was held on July 29, 1886, upon his return from England. The people of Johor and Malaya gazed in awe at the glittering crown and regalia that was exhibited for the first time in the country.

The coronation was unique in many ways. Being the first ever coronation held in Johor and Malaya, there were no precedents. However, Abu Bakar and his ministers would have observed European court culture during his visits.

In spite of being handicapped by not having the experience it was indeed a commendable effort of the people of Johor then to successfully organise the event. The rituals and palace culture put in place during Abu Bakar’s coronation were adapted at the coronation of Sultan Ibrahim and Sultan Ismail, respectively.

Preparations are under way at Istana Bukit Serene in Johor Baru for the coronation of Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar as the fifth sultan of Johor on Monday. File pic

The writer is president of the Council of the Royal Court. An earlier version of this article was first published on Nov 6, 2013