The ancient covenant and punishment

By Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz | May 18, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

MAY 18 — 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 trespasses 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 three 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 threatened now, not with the fear of having our houses inverted but by putting the fear of Ibrahim Ali knocking at our doors. —

* Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz is a former Pulau Manis assemblyman.

  1. #1 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 - 10:17 am

    Will this be in the new History syllabus?

    Did they have a Dato Trio then?

    What part did Saiful play?

  2. #2 by dagen on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 - 11:23 am

    Oh yeah. More than that. Sex is also in food. Errr drinks. Look at Kopi Jantan which is being marketed as “Pasti Power”. And sometime ago, Kopi Tongkat Ali.

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