Undang

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An Undang is a ruling chief or territorial chief who still play an important role in the state of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. The name is believed to be derived from the Malay word undang-undang meaning law.

Traditionally, the Minangkabau who settled at Negeri Sembilan, in present day Malaysia at the end of the 17th Century choose from amongst themselves a "penghulu" or headman. Several of these "penghulus", notably that of Sungai Ujong, Jelebu, Johol and Rembau became powerful enough to exalt themselves above other "penghulus". By the early part of the 18th Century, the leaders of these four districts started calling themselves "Undang".

Malaysia's modern day constitution confirms the status of the Undang under Article 181. Undangs are still chosen from amongst certain noble families in the state, the succession being both matrilineal and elective following the Adat Purbakala.

Inheritance and Titles[edit]

Chieftains are selected among the nobility in each Luak (chiefdom), following matrilineal inheritance, part of the state's adat perpatih customs.

  • The Undang of Sungai Ujong is chosen among the Waris Hulu and Waris Hilir families, and inherits the title Dato' Kelana Petra Seri Jaya.[1]
  • The Undang of Jelebu is elected among the four noble houses, Waris Jelebu, Waris Ulu Jelebu, Waris Sarin and Waris Kemin.[2][3]
  • Undangs of Johol are a succession of members of a single family in the female line. The son of the eldest sister of the incumbent is usually the heir.[4]
  • The Undang of Rembau alternates between the two major noble houses in the Luak, namely the Waris Jakun (who inherit the title Dato' Lela Maharaja) and the Waris Jawa (Dato' Sedia di-Raja). As with the undangs of Johol, the son of the eldest sister of the incumbent is the heir in the family.[5]
Luak Title Undang Reign since
Sungai Ujong Dato' Kelana Petra Seri Jaya Dato' Shah Bandar 1993
Jelebu Dato' Mendelika Mentri Akhir ul-Zaman Dato’ Haji Musa Abdul Wahab 1983
Johol Dato' Johan Pahlawan Lela Perkasa Setiawan Dato' Muhammad Abdul Ghani 2007
Rembau Dato' Lela Maharaja
or
Dato' Sedia di-Raja
Dato' Muhammad Sharif Othman 1999

The senior wife of an Undang has the honorific title of "To' Puan".

Duties[edit]

Though now only symbolically powerful, the Undangs still carry out duties such as attending the state opening of the legislative assembly and electing the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, who is the head of state. The Undangs themselves cannot stand for election and their choice of ruler is limited to a male Muslim who is Malay and also a "lawfully begotten descendant of Raja Radin ibni Raja Lenggang".

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sungai Ujong". Royal Ark. Retrieved 2011-06-06. 
  2. ^ "Jelebu". Royal Ark. Retrieved 2011-06-06. 
  3. ^ Gullick, J. M. (1946). "104. The Election of an Undang of Jelebu". Man 46: 122–125. doi:10.2307/2792637.  edit
  4. ^ "Johol". Royal Ark. Retrieved 2011-06-06. 
  5. ^ "Rembau". Royal Ark. Retrieved 2011-06-06.