Thursday, July 30, 2015


By Mansor Puteh
(The author of a yet-to-be-published 1,000-page historical novel, ‘The Rise and Fall of the Melaka Sultanate’.)

Sultan Nazrin Shah was installed the thirty-fifth Sultan of Perak on 6 May, 2015 at Istana Iskandaria in Kuala Kangsar, which also sees some interesting and colorful ceremonies being held the first being the arrival of the Sultan on the banks of the River Kinta.  

It was a reenactment of the arrival of Raja Alauddin Shah, the son of Sultan Mahmud Shah, the eighth and last Sultan of Melaka who had fled to live in exile in Kampar in Sumatera, Indonesia in 1526, where he died two years later, without ever managing to wrest control of Melaka from the Portuguese who overtook the state on 26 August, 1511, who had displaced him that caused him to flee to a few places before finding a safe refuge in Kampar.

Raja Alauddin Shah sailed from Kampar to go to Perak where he was installed the first Sultan of Perak and assuming the name of Sultan Muzaffar Shah, the namesake of his great-greatgrandfather who was the fourth Sultan of Melaka who ruled from 1446 to 1456 of the Common Era (CE) – (or 849 to 860 Hijrah) who was formerly known as Raja Kassim ibni Almarhum Sultan Muhammad Shah.

Perak then did not have a sultan, so some of the village chieftains from the state decided to go to Kampar to seek an audience with Sultan Mahmud Shah, to ask if the sultan could offer one of his sons to come to Perak to be installed their first sultan.

Sultan Mahmud Shah had earlier sent his first son, Raja Muzaffar Shah to be the first Sultan of Johor, a lineage which unfortunately did not last when the last Sultan of Johor did not bear an heir resulting in the Sultanate to fall and thus become extinct.

The Sultanate of Johor, however, was revived much later that lasts to this present day.

Sultan Mahmud Shah had sent his other son, to be the Sultan of Pahang called Sultan Mahmud Shah, and he only had one other son left, Raja Alauddin Shah that he could allow to go to Perak to become their first sultan which Raja Alauddin Shah accepted, after the demise of his father in 1528.

And the present Sultan of Perak’s lineage can be thus traced back to the family of the last Sultan of Melaka, Sultan Mahmud Shah, who died in Kampar and was referred to fondly as Mahrum Kampar.

The Sultan’s Mausoleum can still be found in Kampar, Sumatera.

Sultan Mahmud Shah’s fleeing to Kampar in Sumatera where he managed to live in exile turned out to be a sort of a ‘homecoming’ because his great-greatgrandfather was Parameswara who founded Melaka in 1400 CE, and fourteen years later reverted to Islam when he visited Pasai near Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatera, and marrying a local princess, and assuming the name of Megat Iskandar Shah, from the name of his ancient ancestor, Iskandar Zulkarnain or Alexander the Great of Macedonia.

(Note: And it is no surprise how the clothes and also wedding ceremonies of the people of Aceh today resemble much like what is done by the Malays in Melaka and Perak and throughout Malaysia.

Parameswara was wearing the traditional clothes of the Srivijayan Empire called ‘sarong maupu’ and started to wear the earlier version of the ‘baju Melayu’ which was later stylized by Tun Hassan during the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah who was the fifth Sultan of Melaka.

(Unfortunately, I have not found out how the ‘sarong maupu’ looked like, but I suspect it looked like the Greek toga.)

Tun Hassan was the son of a high ranking officer of the palace and who was said to be fashionable and popular with the women, and he was the person who reshaped the design of the ‘baju Melayu’ by extending the sleeves and pants and loosening them, so that they look more stylish and fashionable that allows for it to be used by people in the state to show their different ranks, with the fancy headgears, to match.

So I can say with some authority that the clothes that statue of Paramewara in the replica of the palace of the Sultan of Melaka receiving Admiral Zheng He (or Cheng Ho) in 1405 CE, in the City of Melaka today to be inaccurate because it shows him wearing the ‘baju Melayu’ in the modern style.

Parameswara had not even reverted to Islam when he met Admiral Zheng He in 1405 CE.

Even then Parameswara did not receive Zheng He in the throne room but at the ‘bendul’ where he liked to sit where there is wind coming from the Straits of Melaka.)

I found it very intriguing trying to figure out how this could happen, with the lineage of the Sultanate of Perak going back to the Sultanate of Melaka and further back still to Alexander the Great, whose exploits had been well-documented and written.

Alexander the Great had taken his forces from Macedonia to Egypt, Iran (the Persia) and on to India, where he sired many princes, who continued the lineage.

And three of the subsequent princes were sent by their father to different states in Southeast Asia such as Cambodia, Thailand and Sumatera when it was under Srivijayan rule.

And this was where Parameswara emerged from the pages of the history book, who then led his own supporters to leave Palembang which was the seat of the Srivijayan Empire ‘to inspect the sea’ (or ‘melihat laut) as the royal expeditions or sea travels were called then.

He ended up at various places including Majapahit in Jawa Island, Temasek (now Singapore), until he decided to go northwards to Seletar in Temasek and then crossing the Tebrau Straits to Tanah Hujong (which is now Johor Baru), to go to Biawak Busuk, Muar before ending at Hulu Bertam where he witnessed how his favorite dog was kicked by a white mouse-deer, when he decided to found his country there using the name of the tree he was sitting under, the melaka tree, which was then a short and young one that could give him a lot of shade from the hot sun.

The mouth of the Melaka River then called Bertam River had only about twenty people living there, and this was where Parameswara decided to found his state of Melaka.  

It is also no coincidence that the palace of the Sultan of Perak is called Istana Iskandariah or Alexandria Palace, and how Parameswara’s children initially had names like Raja Kechil Besar, Raja Kechil Tengah and also Raja Kechil Bongsu, the titles which are still being used today in the lineage or the Sultan of Perak.  

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