Kedah Sul­tanate the ear­li­est in the Malay penin­sula

The Star Malaysia - - Views - Your opin­ions

I MUST com­mend Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai for writ­ing a cou­ple of en­light­en­ing ar­ti­cles in his col­umn, On The Beat, over the last two Sun­days about the monar­chy sys­tem in Malaysia. The ar­ti­cles have helped to in­form read­ers about how the sys­tem works and its rel­e­vance to our na­tion to­day.

How­ever, it is not quite right to say that “our Malay monar­chy dates to the 15th cen­tury...” The first sul­tanate that emerged in the Malay penin­sula was the Kedah Sul­tanate in 1136. The ruler was Sultan Mudzaf­far Shah who was on the throne till 1179. The Kedah Sul­tanate has an un­bro­ken lin­eage cen­tring on the same dynasty, which makes it, ar­guably, the old­est sul­tanate in the world to­day.

From his­tor­i­cal records, we know that it ex­er­cised ef­fec­tive do­mes­tic ju­ris­dic­tion and at­tended to the needs of the peo­ple, in­clud­ing build­ing the fa­mous Wan Mat Sa­man canal in 1885 that ir­ri­gates a huge ex­panse of padi land from north­ern to cen­tral Kedah. It also es­tab­lished bi­lat­eral and re­gional re­la­tions with other king­doms.

In dis­cussing the Malaysian monar­chy, it is also im­por­tant to em­pha­sise that as con­sti­tu­tional monar­chs, ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency are vi­tal at­tributes. It is these at­tributes that dis­tin­guish con­sti­tu­tional monar­chies from their feu­dal pre­de­ces­sors. DR CHAN­DRA MUZAFFAR Kuala Lumpur

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