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MALAYSIA: A CEREMONY STEEPED IN TRADITION AND SPLENDOUR

By Zabidi Ishar

ALOR SETAR, Kedah state, Malaysia Oct 21 (NNN-Bernama) — Tomorrow’s ceremony where Sultan Sallehuddin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah will be installed as the 29th Sultan of Kedah state will allow spectators to catch a glimpse of the glory of the Malay sultanate.

What makes this occasion even more special is that the last time Kedah state witnessed such a ceremony was 59 years ago when Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah was installed as the ruler of the state. The sultan passed away on Sept 11, 2017.

The royal palace here, Istana Anak Bukit, is also set to make history as this will be the first time an installation ceremony is taking place there. The previous installation ceremonies took place at Istana Alor Setar.

Head of ceremony, Bijaya Indera Datuk Paduka Syed Unan Mashri Syed Abdullah, said in the past not all the sultans in the state were installed in accordance with the actual traditions and customs due to the prevailing circumstances then.

“According to historical records, rulers such as Sultan Badlishah (ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah) was appointed (as the 27th Sultan of Kedah) and there was no installation ceremony due to the Japanese occupation of Malaya then,” he said.

NO ELEMENTS OF MYSTICISM

Syed Unan Mashri said with the consent of Sultan Sallehuddin, tomorrow’s installation would take place amid pomp and splendour, with the ceremony steeped in traditions and customs observed by the Kedah Malay sultanate.

“But this time, there will be some improvements. Any custom or ritual seen as going against the teachings of Islam will be excluded. In perfecting the installation ceremony, the status of Islam will be exalted.

“Tuanku does not want proceedings that carry elements of mysticism. In fact, the ceremony will be filled with recitals of prayers and verses from the al-Quran,” he said.

Another unique feature about this ceremony is that Sultan Sallehuddin will wear a new and specially designed ‘tengkolok’ or headdress that is based on the design of the headdress worn by the ruler’s late father Sultan Badlishah, the 27th Sultan of Kedah.

Syed Unan Mashri said the headdress, named ‘Seri Mahkota’, symbolised the noble qualities and characteristics of the 29th Sultan of Kedah.

The headdress is fashioned out of a one-metre-long ‘songket’ or silk material that is hand-woven from gold thread.

On Sultan Sallehuddin’s attire, Syed Unan Mashri said the ruler would wear the traditional ‘Baju Sikap’ during the installation ceremony.

“Tuanku has also said that he wants to use the sash that was used by the sultans in the past, which is now being kept in the state treasury. Tuanku will wear the sash together with his ‘songket’ woven from gold thread,” he said.

No royal ceremony is complete without the participation of the Kedah Royal Nobat orchestra and Sultan Sallehuddin’s installation is no exception.

During the installation ceremony, the nobat orchestra, whose history dates back to 400 years, will play the ‘Lagu Perang’, among others.

CEREMONY STEEPED IN TRADITION

The installation ceremony will begin with the arrival of Sultan Sallehuddin and Sultanah Maliha Ibni Almarhum Tengku Ariff at the Throne Room at 8.30 a.m.

The royal couple will be accompanied by officials, led by the head of ceremony, carrying the Sceptre of Religion, Sceptre of the World, Mace, Sword and Waist Buckle.

After the head of ceremony seeks the sultan’s permission to begin the ceremony, the ‘Datuk-Datuk Bergelar’ will proceed to place the articles needed for the installation on a special table.

The articles comprise a copy of the al-Quran, letter of proclamation, pledge document, state keris and a box containing valuable items that symbolise the power and wealth of the Sultan of Kedah.

Kedah Mufti Datuk Sheikh Fadzil Awang will then lead the recitation of the ‘doa’ (supplication), following which the head of ceremony will present Sultan Sallehuddin with a copy of the al-Quran.

PROCLAMATION

Kedah state Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) Mukhriz Mahathir will then proclaim the installation of the Sultan of Kedah, after which Sultan Sallehuddin will read out his pledge.

The head of the ceremony will announce that Sultan Sallehuddin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah has been installed as the 29th Sultan of Kedah. He will then shout ‘Daulat Tuanku’ three times, with the guests witnessing the ceremony following suit.

The nobat musicians will play the song ‘Allah Selamat Sultan’, followed by a 21-gun salute.

The Raja Muda of Kedah will, on behalf of the royal family, read out his congratulatory message, followed by Mukhriz who will congratulate the sultan on behalf of the state government and the people.

END OF CEREMONY

Towards the end of the ceremony, the Kedah Mufti will once again lead the recitation of the ‘doa’, following which the head of ceremony will seek the newly-installed sultan’s permission to end the ceremony.

Syed Unan Mashri said the installation ceremony would be graced by Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Malaysia’s King) Sultan Muhammad V, the Malay rulers and the Sultan of Brunei or his representative.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and her husband Anwar Ibrahim, as well as the various menteri besar and chief ministers, will also be in attendance.

Several other ceremonies were also held in conjunction with the sultan’s installation. The ‘Istiadat Letak Kerja’ to mark the launch of ceremonies for the sultan’s installation was held on Sept 20; ‘Istiadat Ziarah Makam’ (visit to the graves) on Oct 5; ‘Istiadat Siram Tabal’ (royal bathing ceremony) on Oct 14; and ‘Istiadat Perarakan’ (royal parade) on Oct 20.

On Sept 12, 2017, Sultan Sallehuddin was proclaimed the 29th Sultan of Kedah, succeeding Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah who passed away a day earlier.

Sultan Sallehuddin was born on April 30, 1942, and he is ninth among 14 children born to Sultan Badlishah Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah who had ruled Kedah from 1943 to 1958.

Sultan Sallehuddin and Sultanah Maliha are blessed with two children, Tunku Sarafudin Badlishah and Datuk Tunku Shazuddin Ariff.– NNN-BERNAMA

Source: NAM News Network

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