Can Melaka Sultanate Which Ended Five Centuries Ago Be A Revived?
KUALA LUMPUR: February 22, 2014, Saturday. The Melaka sultanate ended some five centuries ago, but there is no shortage of claimants to the throne till today with some still hopeful of reviving the long lost sultanate.
One of the recent hopefuls is businessman Noor Jan Tuah whose attempt to claim the throne never made any headway as he could not substantiate his claims with real facts.
His latest attempt to produce a falsified recognition from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for his claim pointed to an elaborate hoax and he was subsequently arrested early this month.
In the meantime a lady appeared from no where claiming that she has the magical powers to revive the Melaka sultanate and threatened to unleash calamities on the state if her claims were not fulfilled.
She goes by the name Bonda Ratu Kuasa Alam Tan Sri Sharifah Norlaini Kesemua Dinegeret, an Indonesian who claims that her husband is the true successor to the throne.
However, the mystical lady and her claims still remain a mystery to most people while Noor Jan did manage to raise eyebrows with his ‘royal antics’.
It appears that there is no end to the claimants to the Melaka sultanate with more expected to come up in the future to try their luck in reviving the throne that ended in 1511 when the Portuguese captured Melaka and its last Sultan, Mahmud Shah was forced to retreat to Johor.
While no one has yet to come with a strong basis to claim the Melaka throne, the regular appearance of claimants over the throne is now a cause of concern for the people and the authorities.
Claimants can prove to be a nuisance
Can one regard Noor Jan who addresses himself as Tuanku Raja Noor Jan Shah ibni al-marhum Y.A.M. Raja Tuah Shah as an opportunists seeking the riches and the glamorous life associated with royalties?
What more Melaka is a fully developed and a well to do state, meaning there are rich pickings here for the ‘sultan’.
While Noor Jan may not have the required legitimacy to claim the throne, he had certainly created a following. He dons royal attire and even holds royal ceremonies to present honorary titles.
Noor Jan a nuinsance
However, becoming a sultan in any of the three states – Melaka, Penang and Singapore – may be next to impossible as pointed out by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The three states ever since becoming part of the British Territories under the Straits Settlements and later part of the Federation of Malaysia has no provisions for sultans or royalties.
Apart from that, Zahid also questioned why the 56 year old man was trying to undermine the country’s royal institutions.
Melaka’s Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Idris Haron regretted on Noor Jan’s actions in misleading the people and urged the public not to fall for his baseless claims. Idris added that the Melaka state government vehemently objected the businessman’s claim as it challenged the Federal Constitution that only recognised the existing nine sultans.
An insult to the royal institution?
A historian of the Malay sultanate Raja Yusuf Izzudin Raja Datuk Pahlawan Lope Ahmad noted that action should have been taken against Noor Jan much earlier for making false statements including that he is the rightful heir to the throne.
According to him, Noor Jan even had claimed that he is from the Perak royal lineage and claimed that he has certain supernatural powers to retrieve many of the royal regalia belonging to the Melaka sultanate.
“His actions actually constitutes contempt of the country’s royal institution.
“He even had tried to gate crash an event at Istana Negara with his followers sometime back,” said Raja Yusuf Izzudin who created the ‘SembangKuala blog that narrates the history of the Perak Malay royalty.
“His claims that he is the rightful Melaka sultan is nonsense and that he had the recognition of ICJ is nothing more than lies,” explained Raja Yusuf.
“Also, one should not forget apart from his claim over the Melaka throne, he also claimed that he was the 35th Sultan of Perak when Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah is the current ruler of Perak,” he said.
“Not only his claims were unsubstantiated, it also shows that Noor Jan himself had no real knowledge on the Perak and Melaka sultanates,” said Raja Yusuf.
He said reviving the Melaka Sultanate hitherto was never the agenda of any of the Perak sultans.
“Noor Jan is from Perak, but he wants to claim the Melaka throne and surprisingly non of the previous sultans staked a claim on the throne.
“As for example, Sultan Sir Alang Iskandar (who was officially known as Sultan Iskandar Shah – the 30th Sultan of Perak) who was very close to the British and even managed to get back the Dindings district in 1937 also never did that.
On claims that Noor Jan could retrieve many of the Melaka sultanate’s royal regalia including the Taming Sari dagger, Muhamad Adha Abdul Jalil who is familiar with the Malay sultanate history debunked Noor Jan’s claim.
Muhamad Adha who also goes by the name Ku Alam explained that firstly, the Taming Sari dagger was not the royal regalia but the weapon used by Melaka’s great warrior, Hang Tuah.
Noor Jan had claimed that he had retrieved the dagger from the earth’s core through a mystical process that took three years. He also claimed that through the same method he had retrieved the royal seal, dagger, decorative waist buckle, necklace and the crown among others that belonged to the previous sultans of Melaka.
Through his blog ‘Payung Mahkota Dirgahayu Raja Melayu,’ Ku Alam also pointed out that as the Perak sultanate’s origins could be traced to the Melaka sultanate, therefore it is only natural that both sultanates share the same customs.
One of the main regalia of the Perak sultanate used during the investiture ceremony is the nobat (royal band) and the one who inherits the Perak throne also has to inherit the nobat from his predecessor.
“Inheriting the nobat does not mean inheriting the musical instruments only, but also the hereditary musicians or ‘Orang Kalur’ with the head of the group known as ‘Toh Setia Guna’ and the assistant known as ‘Toh Setia Indera’.
Apart from nobat, the other important regalia used during investiture is the Chura Si Manjakini or the Curi’ Sa-Menta Dakini, both swords.
Without both the regalia (Nobat and the sword), the sultan could not claim the throne, said Ku Alam.
In a nutshell, no one can claim to be the sultan as long as they don’t have these regalia. — Bernama