A fitting ensemble for a Sultan

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 08 Mar 2003

TODAY, at the 10am, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Shah Al-Haj will be crowned the ninth Sultan of Selangor. Witnessed by members of the Royal House of Selangor, and representatives of the Malay Rulers, governors, local and foreign dignitaries, the coronation will be full of pomp and grandeur. The last coronation of such magnitude was over four decades ago when Sultan Sharafuddin's father was crowned. During the coronation, the most important objects are the Royal Regalia of the Sultanate of Selangor. KEE HUA CHEE describes the role and significance of each

1. Mahkota Diraja 

This Royal Crown symbolises the majesty, grace and authority of the Selangor monarchy. By tradition, the Sultan of Selangor is one of three Malay Rulers who wear a crown upon their coronation. The other Rulers are the Sultan of Kelantan and Sultan of Johor. The Royal Crown of Selangor is mounted with diamonds, rubies and precious stones with the aigrette composed entirely of diamonds. Originally, the aigrette can be detached to facilitate the entry and exit from cars. However, Sultan Sharafuddin has affixed it permanently. On his coronation, the crown will be carried by his senior uncle and passed on to the Mufti of Selangor who will place it on the Sultan's head, thus sealing the right to rule by the Sultan. 

2. Tengkolok Diraja 

The Royal Headdress of the Selangor Sultan is worn on important and auspicious occasions. 

3. Keris Terapang Gabus 

Another keris of great importance and also worn by the Sultan as part of his official attire is Keris Terapang Gabus, a Bugis keris. His late grandfather, Sultan Hishamuddin Alam Shah, wore this keris when he attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London in 1952. Its attributes are best described as such, 

Pantang kalah pantang debus,Kalau di-tikam (nuschaya) tembus 

The keris is named Terapang Gabus because its sheath is made of spongy wood or gabus. It is sometimes referred to as Keris Tetuli Emas due to the golden cord, which can be used as a belt or bengkong. The keris has a gold sheath and bejewelled handle and is inscribed with the Selangor state crest. 

4. Keris Panjang Berok Berayon 

Of all the Royal Regalia, the most important and historical is not one studded with diamonds nor made of solid gold. However, the value of this keris is incalculable as it symbolises the Sultan of Selangor’s right to rule. It is the Keris Panjang Berok Berayon (pic), a lethal weapon for warfare and as such is meant to be wielded with force and hence the lack of ornamentation and precious stones. This sword has a straight blade unlike the usual keris. In ancient times, it was believed that the sword had the power to warn the Sultan of impending danger by rattling inside its sheath or through the power of dreams. Despite its seemingly nondescript appearance, the keris is held with the utmost respect by each reigning Sultan of Selangor. Its powers is described as such:  

Pantang di-gerak, pantang di-ayon,Bisanya menyenak hingga ka ubun ubun Its blade is never taken out for public viewing. The public can only see the blade taken out from its sheath during the death of a Sultan. Even the name speaks volumes of its mysterious origins. The blade is made from a type of iron called “Lela Rentaka’’ and made by Bugis swordsmiths. However, berok means “monkey” and Berok Berayon is so named because, according to legend, the sword was first seen in the grasp of a large monkey who was swinging it wildly above his head and attacking all passers-by who came near. The beast had killed 99 men before the sword was presented to the Sultan. Said to be nearly 300 years old, Keris Panjang Berok Berayon is steeped in blood and was used in local battles as well as against the invading Dutch. The blade is supposed to be stained brownish from blood it had spilled. The blade is still sharp and apparently poisonous. Sultan Sharafuddin always makes sure he does not have any cut on his fingers when he cleans the blade each week, usually in the evening after prayers. The Sultan uses oil and (non-alcoholic) perfume to cleanse and rub the blade with his fingers. Surprisingly, even after a fortnight, the keris still emits the fragrance, whereas scents and oils on other blades would have evaporated after a few days. In his official photographs, Sultan Sharafuddin is seen wearing the keris but his father has never been photographed with it. Upon his father's demise, the sword was immediately taken from Istana Bukit Kayangan to Istana Mestika, the home of Sultan Sharafuddin, where it now resides. During the coronation, the first object to be carried into the Throne Hall is the “Sembuana’’ spear and its matching counterpart, Keris Panjang Berok Berayon. Then only does the Sultan follow. In ancient times, if a man was found guilty of a heinous crime and sentenced to death, at the command of the Sultan, this keris would be used to stab the criminal to instant death at Bukit Melawati, Kuala Selangor. 

5. Pending Emas Bertatah Permata 

This gold belt and buckle belonged to Sultan Hishamuddin Alam Shah (the sixth Sultan of Selangor) and has become part of the regalia. This belt is new as the original was stolen during an exhibition and melted down. However, this is a close replica except the stones are smaller. 

6. Keris Gading Diraja 

This keris is one of three keris, which form part of the Royal Regalia of the Selangor Sultanate. 

7. Baju Layang 

This robe or cloak is traditionally worn during the coronation. The embroidered emblem is the Selangor “DK”, the highest award of the state. Each robe is custom-made for each Sultan.

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