Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The ancient covenant and punishment

One of the most cherished cultural codes of conduct of the Malays is the saying pantang Melayu derhaka! In English, it can loosely be translated to mean, the people shall never be disloyal to the king. The term disloyal is used in a most general import. The common man never trespass the king in any way and form; never shall he insult the king in mind, never speak evil and more so does not commit trespass of the person upon the king. The term treason is also a close description.

Strange as this may sound, the origins of this injunction which sadly has been presented one-sidedly, sprung from the sexual drives of one mythical king. Sex therefore has always been a mainstay in Malay politics right to the present day. So I actually find it bemusing to discover that the preoccupation of our country especially among the Malays, has, since the past recent decade been the topic of sex.

To what source do I attribute this treasonable description? We turn to the venerable Sejarah Melayu or Malay Annals. As we shall discover shortly, it was sex that actually formed the genesis of the ancient covenant between King and subject. The ancient king figure being represented by king Sri Tri Buana (STB) and the people figure by Deman Lebar Daun (DLD). Sri Tri Buana is one of the 3 mythical figures that appeared at Bukit Siguntang Mahameru. He was made king when Demang Lebar Daun the incumbent ruler of Palembang

When STB became king , he became the ancient version of a ladies man…for wherever there was to be found a beautiful daughter of a prince he took her to wife. (the Malay Annals). Every time he consummated his marriage his bride was stricken with chloasma as a result of being possessed by him. Of no further use, STB abandoned the lady in question. It is storied that he took 39 ladies in succession but all were stricken with chloasma. Chloasma is a skin disease that made the skin especially the face area turn darkish brown or possibly black.

He was resigned to spending life as a bachelor when fate intervened and he was informed that his man Friday, his sidekick has a beautiful daughter, Wan Sundari. Whereupon he summoned his faithful former king now turned sidekick and expressed his desire of wanting the daughter of Demand Lebar Daun. DLD asked for a covenant with the King if he wants his daughter's hand in marriage.

Since then, only the second part of the ancient covenant has been stressed over and over again. This part read:-

"that your descendants shall never for the rest of the time be disloyal to my descendants, even if my descendants oppress them and behave evilly.

And DLD said- very well your highness, but if your descendant depart from the terms of the pact, then so will mine.

But what was the part of the people's bargain?

"your highness, the descendants of your humble servant shall be the subjects of your Majesty's throne, but they must be well treated by your descendants. If they offend, they shall not, however grave be their offence be disgraced or reviled with evil words: if their offence is grave, let them be put to death if that is in accordance to Muhammadan law.

When the terms and conditions of the pact were agreed upon, both of them too a solemn oath( maybe no different from today's sumpah laknat) to the effect that whoever departed from the terms of the pact , let his house be overturned by Almighty God so that its roof be laid on the ground and its pillars be inverted.

Perhaps they got every part of the pact correct except the last bit. They called it the house uprooted punishment, we now know that form of punishment has morphed into Ibrahim Ali. We are threatned now, not with the fear of having our houses inverted but by putting the fear of Ibrahim Ali knocking at our doors.

To be continued………………..

Ariff sabri





  1. Salam ArifAs,

    Reading Malay literature, history, and culture points to quite a number of practices that goes the teachings of Islam especially on leadership and human relationships.

    Throw old slippers at me, but I personally find the culture of bestowing honor by titles and so forth quite deluding. It is human tradition of course but to honor a person in the manner that he/she becomes untouchables (and "you are to ask no question please") bequiles me in a quite unpleasant way. In addition, to honor a person who is immoral is quite an oxymoron in itself.

    In Islam, when we are in ihram it teaches us a lot things there. It is not just a one-off spiritual ritual and experience.

    With the number of titles we have in Malaysia and imagine if we were to translate that tradition to a larger and more advanced societies (like the US) ....


  2. During the Malay Sultanate era, the monarchy held absolute power. In modern day Malaysia, the monarchy is only constitutional and supposedly shared power with other branches of the government.

    Even though it is still hereditary which exclude the government in its ascension process, the monarch in reality is beholden to the government in power. He needs government-approved budgets to run his istanas and offices. Then of course, there is also the non-budget concessions and contracts to help with his personal finances.

    Top civil servants and judges are appointed by the government with the monarch consent formality. In parliament, even MPs of the ruling party need to toe the line, hoping to be retained as candidates for the next GE.

    Hence the theory of separation of power in Malaysia, in practice can easily be overcome and concentrated by Umno; the modern day version of the monarch and its bangsawan group.

    So what is the covenant between Umno and the rakyat?

    Social contract?

    But Umno still insists on Malay's loyalty for sake of Malays and Islam.
    It is as though Umno is The Sustainer and Umno is The Protector; although Aspan likens it as 'Umno the Almighty'.

    As long as the Malay is still caught in its feudal psychic, the Malays as a community will always be manipulated by those in power.


  3. Dato', can't wait of the Brahing Ali part... ready for jihad and let Brahing kick the bucket alone...hehe. Got excited reading your article... what is next? Obama, Jibby, Anwar or Brahing the man ready to fall!!!
    Or all the Melayu will be affected by that skin disease of STB...yek! whose the carrier?!!!
    Brahing la tu... Brahing la tu!!!

  4. Congratulations Dato, my good wishes.

  5. Today the King is UMNO.
    It can abuse all laws, it can mock the sultans, it can lock up the people at will, it can raise the keris, it can declare war with minorities, it can cheat at elections, it can manipulate the courts and IT CAN MANIPULATE RELIGION.
    UMNO thinks it is as immortal as God Himself.