On 22nd October 2018 the 29th Sultan of Kedah Darul Aman was installed. One year has passed. The last Installation was held 59 years ago. Kedah has a long history surpassing the others states of the Federation.
Studies showed that ancient Kedah known as Langkasuka, Kadaram, Kataha, Quedah was a Kingdom with an organised system of government , military power and economy based on trade.
New discoveries at the site of Sungei Emas and Sungai Batu showed that Kedah was an exporter of agricultural products, elephants, tin and produced iron used for the making of utensils and military hardware. Carbon dating traces iron found in the Middle East, Europe and India back to Kedah and that was 500 years B.C.. So its civilisation started before the Roman Empire, Persian Empire and earlier Chinese Dynasties. Even Europe was still in the Dark Ages then.
It was the economic richness of Kedah that led to Kedah being attacked by the Chola Kingdom from India and later from a host of other Kingdom, Majapahit, Sri Vijaya, Bugis, Acheh, Funan, Dutch, English and Siamese. At the height of its power Kedah controlled territories as far as Mergiu (Burma), Singgora , Setul and Terang (Siam), Kayang (Perlis), Penang and Seberang Perai, Kerian, Kuala Kurau and Beruas (Perak).
The Islamic Sultanate started in 1136 with the first Sultan , Muzaffar Shah , installed at Bukit Meriam. This lineage has been unbroken until the present 29 th Sultan, HRH Sultan Sallehudin ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah. Taking this into account then the Kedah Sultanate is perhaps the oldest unbroken lineage in the world surpassing that of China, Japan, England and European Kingdom as they were from different families.
Historical records can attest that the Sultans of Kedah ruled benevolently and set up a system of government with a Prime Minister, Civil Service, Judiciary, Police Force, State Treasury and introduced Codes in Government and Administration, Islamic Courts, Civil Courts, Land Admistration as far back in the 17 th century. It was through power, wisdom and diplomacy that Kedah managed to retain most of its territories even when the might of the English and Siamese power managed to subdue Kedah. Even then the Sultan would never gave up always trying to restore its sovereignty through counter attacks and diplomacy. Thousands including the Royal Family,the nobility ,ulammas lost their lives protecting the Sultanate during the 19th century when Kedah was at war with the Siamese , The deceit and treachery of the English helped the Siamese to overcome the Kedah forces. Underneath the grounds of Masjid Zahir in Alor Setar lies the graves of a thousand matayr who died fighting against the Siamese.
So Kedahan is proud to install itheir new Sultan who like his predesessors, entombed at the Royal Mausoleum in present day Langgar and the older Langgar , will honour his pledge of Kingship to protect and preserve Islam,its people and its constitution.
So what if we brought in three elephants to honour our Sultan as elephants did played a role in the Installations of Kedah Sultans.So what if we built a Bahtera (Ark) for our Sultan to make the journey from the palace to the Balai Besar, in full view of his subjects.
So what if we did some festivities to welcome our new Sultan. Yes His Royal Highnes Al Aminul Karim Sultan Sallehudin ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah, an unassuming man , down to earth, modest and humble . Yet with the heart of the lion ready to do battle and to die for his subjects.He had done more than his duty in the army to protect our nation.
Sultan Sallehudin joined the army after graduating from the Indian Military Academy, Derra Dun. He was a foot soldier,an officer in the Royal Malay Regiment and served in the jungles of Sabah, Sarawak, Kedah, Perak at the heights of the Communist Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation. That was real war and a soldier’s life can come to an end anytime in the deep jungle.
The Sultans duties had taken him months from his family and he even didnt see his new son for nine months after he was born. He was prepared to lay down his life for his country and his people and not many leaders,kings or Sultans can claim that distinction.
The Almighty in his misterious ways had ordained that Tunku Sallehudin ,the Fourth son of Sultan Badlishah, would be the 29th Sultan of Kedah . Kedahan are honoured that Kedah Darul Aman will further develope and prosper under the benevolent rule of His Royal Highness Al Aminul Karim Sultan Sallehudin ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah..
Kedah has long been the granary of the nation but it is also one of the poorest states.Kedah earned the distinction of leaders becoming twice the Yang Di Pertuan Agong, twice the Prime Minister,twice the Menteri Besar, twice the economic adviicer but nothing moved twice as fast. We had changed the government from Barisan to Pakatan back to Barisan and back to Pakatan and its not getting any better.
Padi is a poor mans crop and without recognising and giving value the sacrifices made by the state, Kedah will forever remain poor. If Kedah is to maintain its status as the granary and provide food security to the nation then planting padi has to be lifted out of this present doldrums. The Muda Project has brought about a lot of changes but after 60 years a new level of ways to plant padi and increased its yield has to be found. New crop of modern farmers,new technology, new agricultural practises and radical changes made to instill the feeling that being a farmer is great, noble and beneficial to the nationOn its own the state has to pay in instalments to built one bridge or to built one building or one road! Its a dilemma as increasing local taxes will backfire on the government and it has happened before. So some new revolutionised thinking on how we distribute the nations coffers to the states has to be adopted..Basing on population will certainly benefit the richer states as many of the young has migrated to the big cities.
Its going to be 2020 next year and we should have been developed if vision 2020 were achieved .At the rate we are going there has to be many more visions before some form of developed status can be achieved.After more than 60 years of independence there has to be a review on the financial capabilities of the states. A percentage of the taxes collected from the states has to be given back apart from the development and expenditure allocations.Then perhaps the Kedah government can better manage the state .
When Sabah and Sarawak cries out for fairness nobody seems to pay much attention. Kedah has been crying out too ibut it seems to fell on deaf ears. Powers lies in the ones holding the purse strings and it had taken a tsunami to reshape some thinking.
Perhaps this new shared prosperity concept will unlock some outdated minds that sharing is really giving. But politicians like to coin concepts with no clear tangible directions to follow through A new leader will come with something new and in the end the state is just there,stagnant neither moving forward nor backward..
2020 to 2030 is just a decade away. The new industrial revolution has started and should we miss this boat Kedah will perhaps become the poorest state in Malaysia. The first anniversary of Tuanku ‘s reign should be the bencemark to prropel Kedah forward and we will all pray that this vision will be achieved.
Long may he reign!
Long Live the Sultan!
Happy New Year 2020.
Dato’ Paduka Haji Unan Mashri Syed Abdullah Dato’ Bijaya Indera