Kedah Sultanate the earliest in the Malay peninsula
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