10 Mac 2010

New reign begins with changes to old rules

08th March 2010 (NST, Johor Buzz)
By Dato Abdul Rahim Ramli

THREE cries of "Daulat Tuanku" reverberated through the crowd that had waited for the proclamation of His Royal Highness Sultan Ibrahim as the new Sultan of Johor Jan 23.

Earlier he took his oath of office witnessed by the Council of the Supporters of the Country that had unanimously agreed to appoint the heir as the new ruler upon the demise of Sultan Iskandar.

Traditions and rites practiced since the time of Sultan Abu Bakar dictate the proclamation of the new ruler is made before the funeral of the late sultan.

At 5pm the previous day the Council of Royal Court had appointed him as Regent after the testimony of three medical specialists who said Sultan Iskandar was incapacitated and could not perform the duties of a ruler. Sultan Iskandar passed away peacefully at 7.15pm on Jan 22.

The state anthem followed the proclamation read out by the Menteri Besar at 1.36pm. After the recital of the doa Sultan Ibrahim symbolically touched the royal coffin signaling the start of the funeral procession to the Royal Mausoleum at Mahmoodiah.

The pall bearers headed by the Raja Muda and the Tunku Bendahara and 10 male Kerabat inched slowly down the 30 steps of the Tangga Agong to the waiting royal hearse. The guard of honour of the Commando Unit gave the royal salute as the coffin was placed on the hearse.

The hearse that was used during Sultan Abu Bakar's funeral was pulled by 20 men of the Johor Military Force on the right and 20 Commando Unit officers on the left.

Sultan Ibrahim accompanied by the Sultans of Pahang, Selangor and Brunei and flanked by the prime minister and other dignitaries followed behind the hearse.

Sultan Ibrahim pledged to rule the state and his people justly and with compassion and uphold the sanctity of Islam and Malay customs and traditions.

In many ways he will consolidate the just reign of his father. His friendly disposition belies his desire for the development of his state for the benefit of his people, and that his government exhibits diligence and integrity in its delivery system.

He has directed the government to preserve the environment and upgrade cleanliness of the towns and practice the culture of maintenance.

He decreed Johor's age-old court traditions be revived and upheld for posterity. His wisdom in not discarding traditions but making innovations and improvements to enrich court practices and culture is inherited from his forefathers.

The ruler is styled as Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, Sultan and Sovereign of the State and Territories of Johor, a title that has been used since Sultan Abu Bakar. His Consort is styled as Yang Maha Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah Bte Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah. Both of them are to be addressed as "Tuanku" during conversation.

Sultan Ibrahim wants his coronation ceremony to take place in one-and-a-half years time to allow for physical preparations and other related requirements. Johor is the first state to have a crown for its ruler but the coronation itself is customary and not a legal requirement.

As provided in the state Constitution the Sultan at the earliest possible time upon ascending the throne must appoint an heir. On Feb 4, the young Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim was appointed as heir and styled the Tunku Mahkota of Johor with the honorific Duli Yang Amat Mulia.

Sultan Ibrahim also decreed the title of his younger brother Tunku Abdul Majid Idris be changed to the traditional Tunku Aris Bendahara as used during the reign of his great grandfather Sultan Ibrahim.

Curtsey for ladies on being introduced to or taking leave of royalty is changed to executing a brief bob with the weight on the front foot at the same time lightly taking the extended royal hand.

Non-Malay lady guests are free to be dressed in their national attire. The so called forbidden colours of yellow, blue, and white will no longer be enforced. This is his wish not to inconvenience his guests.

The Sultan is now seen donning the Baju Telok Belanga the traditional Bugis way of dagang dalam and black trousers. This style was popularised by Sultan Abu Bakar.

Sultan Ibrahim is maintaining blue and white as the sovereign's colours as decreed by Sultan Abu Bakar and practiced by his forefathers, and that yellow is for other royals.

He has revived the use of his Royal Standard on his official cars, and other titled royals their colours. The Menteri Besar and Members of the Council of Royal Court are also to use their dedicated flags on official cars.

Royal protocol and decorum is to be observed. The use of the symbolic crown on letterheads and ciphers will be limited to the Sultan and his immediate family.

The use of the state emblem must conform to its laws. Associations that have been conferred with the honorific "Royal" will be audited to determine if their standards and performance commensurate with the status.

Sultan Ibrahim is a stickler for punctuality, arriving at functions well ahead of time. It reflects his desire for fast paced development and augurs well for his new reign.

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