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The Jakarta Post
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Royal family rejects sultan'€™s choice of heir

  • Slamet Susanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta | Thu, May 7, 2015 | 01:24 pm
Royal family rejects sultan'€™s choice of heir

GKR Mangkubumi - JP/Tarko Sudiarno

Members of the royal family at Yogyakarta Palace have expressed opposition to Sultan Hamengkubuwono X'€™s decision to name his eldest daughter his heir, claiming the choice violates the palace'€™s paugeran (regulations).

The 69-year-old monarch, who has ruled the palace for 27 years, has named his eldest daughter, Gusti Kanjeng Ratu (GKR) Pembayun, the crown princess and given her the title GKR Mangkubumi, which many see as a move to prepare her for succession.

Hamengkubuwono X has one wife and daughters. His father, Hamengkubuwono IX, meanwhile, had five wives, 15
sons and seven daughters.

The sultan, whose mother was his father'€™s second wife, is the eldest son of Hamengkubuwono IX.

In order to demonstrate their discontent at the decision, members of the royal family from a number of cities have planned a gathering and pilgrimage to the royal cemetery in Imogiri, Bantul regency. The visit had been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, but was postponed.

'€œNot all of us are here yet. We are still waiting for those from Jakarta. The pilgrimage will probably go ahead tomorrow,'€ the sultan'€™s half-brother, Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Haryo (KGPH) Yudhaningrat, told reporters at the royal cemetery on Wednesday.

Yudhaningrat is one of Hamengkubuwono IX'€™s children from his third wife.

The pilgrimage, he said, would invoke the family'€™s ancestors and God, in an effort to change the sultan'€™s mind. '€œHopefully, the sultan will realize his mistake soon,'€ Yudhaningrat said.

Members of the royal family, he went on, rejected the sultan'€™s choice of heir because it was considered to run contrary to the palace'€™s rules on succession.

The sultan'€™s decision was issued through two sabdaraja (king'€™s proclamations).

The first was issued on April 30, comprising five points that omitted the word '€œkhalifatullah'€ from the sultan'€™s official name and replaced the affix '€œbuwono'€ in the name with '€œbawono'€.

This is considered important because the terms '€œkhalifatullah'€ and '€œbuwono'€ indicate that the sultan is a man, while the affix '€œbawono'€ is also suitable for females.

The second sabdaraja was issued on Tuesday and named GKR Pembayun, the eldest of the Sultan'€™s five daughters, crown princess.

Yudhaningrat said that during the planned gathering, members of the royal family would also decide on what action to take on the matter, describing the sultan'€™s decision as '€œunacceptable'€.

He also said that the crowning of Sultan Hamengkubowono X as monarch of Yogyakarta Palace was conducted based on palace traditions dating to the transition from Sultan Hamengkubowono I to Hamengkubowono IX.

'€œIf he wants to make a new name, a new order, he can go ahead. But he should not do it at Yogyakarta Palace. Build a new palace, please,'€ Yudhaningrat said.

This internal palace affair is also a matter of public interest, since Law No. 13/2012 on Yogyakarta'€™s special status stipulates that the ruling sultan is also automatically governor of the province.

Historian Silverio Aji Sampurno of Yogyakarta'€™s Sanata Dharma University said that the sabdaraja was problematic as it had been issued without the presence of the sultan'€™s three brothers.

The crowning of a princess as the palace'€™s heir, he said, would attract fierce debate among the community, adding that the sultan needed to issue an explanation as soon as possible to avoid political interests taking advantage of the
situation.

'€œPolitically driven people will prolong this conflict. We have to learn from the struggle between the two sultans at Surakarta Palace,'€ Aji said, referring to a battle for the throne in the neighboring sultanate of Surakarta in Central Java.

Aji also urged the public not to be carried away by the issue and let the palace settle its internal problem.

The 43-year-old crown princess, born Gusti Raden Ajeng (GRAj) Nurmalitasari before receiving the title GKR Pembayun in 2002, is married to commoner Nieko Messa Yudha. Her husband was given the title Kanjeng Pangeran Haryo (KPH) Wironegoro before the wedding in 2002.

Pembayun, who completed most of her education abroad, has served as president director and president commissioner of PT Madu Baru, PT Mataram Mitra Manunggal, PT Yogyakarta Tembakau Indonesia and PT Yarsilk Gora Mahottama.

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