Monday, February 2, 2009

The Beauty of Negeri Sembilan's Adat Perpatih

Since I was a kid, I was exposed to history from around the world not only through reading but mainly by my own mother who is an avid history teller. I was so excited about to know on stories which most people do not bother to take notice of. Hence, I grew up with sufficient information on various world histories from British Monarchy and Kunta Kinte to our own Adat Perpatih in Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus ("State of Nine - the Special Abode").

Generally people know that every time a King dies, the throne will be passed on to the King’s eldest son or Crown Prince. Otherwise, if the King does not have an heir, then only the throne will be succeeded to the next line of succession.

Truly, as a Negeri Sembilan citizen, I was not surprised by the recent selection of the Yamtuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan as I realized on how the Adat Perpatih will be fully implemented on the Yamtuan selection process.

A beautiful Minangkabau royal palace at Pagaruyung
courtesy of Wikipedia

I excerpted the following fact which basically explains the origin of monarchy system in Negeri Sembilan:

Yamtuan Besar, also known as Yang di-Pertuan Besar, is the royal title of the ruler of the Malaysian state of Negeri Sembilan. The ruler of Negeri Sembilan is selected by a council of ruling chiefs in the state, or the datuk-datuk undang. This royal practice has been followed since 1773. This unique form of government later inspired the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, to implement a form of rotational constitutional monarchy for a newly independent Malaya. Thus the office of Yang di-Pertuan Agong was created.
**You may find out more info from Wikipedia

Negeri Sembilan is the only Malaysian state that still practices the custom of Adat Perpatih since the 14th century. History tells of two brothers - Datuk Temeneggong (the elder) and Datuk Perpatih - who were both of the same mother but different father had conflicting ideas and how eventually Minangkabau was finally divided into two lands. The areas were governed under two systems called Adat Temenggong and Adat Perpatih respectively.

I have always been fascinated by the fairness of Adat Perpatih. As for me the Adat Perpatih really uphold its principle feature of the matrilineal system in which the nucleus of the society is the female and her female offspring.

Wealth in Adat Perpatih is divided into four; harta pembawaan (wealth owned by the wife before marriage), harta dapatan (wealth owned by the wife after marriage), harta carian (wealth gained by the couple after marriage) and harta pesaka (inherited wealth).

These rules may appear strict but the beauty that lies behind it is noble and just. It is this rule that makes Adat Perpatih distinct from other systems.

It is amazing when history is not only created but turns out to be relevant to the present day.

All of us wish the new Yamtuan well and all the best! It has been a long 40 years wait indeed.

Source:Information from Warisan Diraja Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus and Wikipedia

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