The Coronation of HRH Sultan Ibrahim of Johor


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Johor is the only State in Malaysia that possess a crown and holds a coronation ceremony for its ruler. Maharaja Abu Bakar who gained international recognition as Sultan of Johor through a treaty with the British in 1885 commissioned a crown for himself and for his successors. It was a radical step in the modernization of Johor.

Abu Bakar ascended the Johor throne in 1862 but his coronation was held in 1886. He codified the laws of succession to the throne of Johor in the State Constitution he promulgated in 1895. But he did not include the coronation of the ruler as part of the legal process. The coronation is therefore more a customary tradition than a legal requirement. The crown and the coronation confirm the legitimacy of the appointment of the ruler and enhance his sovereignty.

This book chronicles the strategies of Maharaja Abu Bakar in his quest for recognition as Sultan. It explains his wisdom in the design and philosophies of the crown jewels, regalia and the revered symbols of his authority.

This book also provides intimate details and personal touches of Sultan Ibrahim in his desire to make his coronation exclusive and to be remembered for posterity. He was meticulously involved in the restoration of the crown jewels, the refurbishment of the venues, and choice of colours and designs of furniture, furnishings and souvenirs. He took time to test exclusively designed seats to ensure comfort for his guests. He commissioned dinner sets and silverware from Europe and the East. He was present at rehearsals and drills to ensure precision and adherence to traditions and rituals. He drew up a menu for the State banquet to suit individual preferences of his guests.

The coronation was steeped in royal traditions inherited from past Johor rulers. It showcased modernity in the form of a blue and gold theme for the throne room, ceremonial attire, robotic cameras and remote microphones. The royal rituals of the levee, the placement of the crown by the mufti, the prayers, the reading of the oath, and the act of obeisance stressed the importance of the preservation of past traditions.

One of the highlights of the coronation is the conferment of the title Permaisuri Johor to the royal consort HRH Raja Zarith Sofiah Binte Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, a departure from tradition as the title was never used before in Johor. This book describes the coronation as a platform for close cooperation and understanding of the people of Johor and as a living proof that the institution of royalty is still relevant. The coronation of Sultan Ibrahim is regarded as the crowning glory of Johor.

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