Malay titles

From Academic Kids

The Malay language has a complex system of titles and honorifics, which is still extensively used in Malaysia and Brunei. Indonesia, while being a Republic, recognizes several hereditary rulers and aristocratic titles, eg. the late wife of former President Soeharto was the Raden Ayu Tien, not as some say, Mrs. Soeharto. Singapore, whose Malay royalty was abolished by the British colonial government in 1891, has adopted civic titles for its leaders. The island republic, interestingly, still pays annual stipends to descendants of its last Sultan.

All titles can be granted to both men and women. Every title has a form which can be used by the wife of the title holder. This form is not used by the husband of a titled woman and such a woman will bear a title which is the same as a titled man.

The sequence that should be used when formally writing or addressing a person's name is as follows:

Honorary style, Professor/Military rank, Royal Title, Title, Doctor (of medicine or philosophy), Haji/Hajjah (for Muslim men and women who have performed the Hajj), Name. For example Yang Berbahagia Jeneral Tengku Tan Sri Hj (Name) and Yang Berbahagia Profesor Datuk Dr Hjh (Name).

If a person has been bestowed more than one title, only the highest title is supposed to be used in conjuction with his/her name.

Contents

Royalty

The following titles are hereditary and reserved for the royal families of Brunei and the nine royal states of Malaysia.

  • Yang di-Pertuan Agong (literally, "He who is made Supreme Lord" but usually "Supreme Head" or "Paramount Ruler") is the official title of the ruler of all Malaysia, elected from among the nine heads of the royal families. The title is often glossed King in English.
  • Yang di-Pertuan Negara (lierally "He who is made Lord of the State" but usually "Head of State") is the official title of the Sultan of Brunei. The title was also used in Singapore until its independence in 1965, upon which the title became President.
  • Yang di-Pertuan Besar (literally "He who is made Great Lord", but often "Great Lord") is the official title of the Ruler of Negeri Sembilan. All other Rulers are Sultans except the Raja of Perlis.
  • Yang di-Pertua Negeri is not a royal title, but the title of a Governor of a state which does not have a native Ruler.
  • Tuanku is both a title when used before a name and form of address when used alone, and is reserved for the Malay Rulers. It literally means "My Lord", and as a form of address can be glossed as "Your Majesty" or "Your Highness, but is left untranslated when used as a title. In Aceh, now a province of Indonesia, "Tuanku" is given to children and grandchildren of a ruling monarch. In Sarawak, "Tuanku" is the prefix used by certain noble families.
  • Tengku (also spelled Tunku in Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Kedah) is roughly equivalent to Prince. In Perlis, the tile is replaced by Syed and in Perak, by Raja. In Aceh, "Tengku" is the title given to religious officers, eg. Tengku Imam Meunasah(leader of the mosque).
  • Pengiran Anak is a royal title for the royal families of Brunei.
  • Pengiran is a hereditary title for people that has blood ties with Brunei royals.

The following styles often precede the royal title on formal notices:

  • Ke Bawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia (literally "The Dust Under The Feet of His Exalted Highness") is used for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and state Rulers alike. However, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong also uses the prefix "Seri Paduka Baginda" (literally, "Conqueror Majesty") and in English, his title is often translated as "His Majesty". A state Ruler is "His Royal Highness" (in colonial times "His Highness"). Since 1984, the ruler of Johor has used the title "Baginda" as well, but he is still referred to in English as "His Royal Highness". The ruler of Perak also uses the prefix "Paduka Seri" which is derived from the archaic formula "Paduka Seri Maulana". The ruler of Negeri Sembilan also used the prefix "Paduka Seri" between 1993 and 2004 (this has since been dropped). These titles are not used as a form of address - instead Tuanku is used.
  • Yang Teramat Mulia is used by the children of reigning Sultans (except in Negeri Sembilan) and by the Dato' Kelana, the Undang of Sungai Ujong in Negeri Sembilan
  • Yang Amat Mulia is used by the children of the ruler of Negeri Sembilan and Johor, the Undang of Jelebu, Johol and Rembau and the Tunku Besar of Tampin in Negeri Sembilan
  • Yang Mulia are used for Tengkus, Rajas, Syeds and Megat.

Federal titles

The following titles, which roughly correspond to the British knighthood, can be granted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. They are honorary and non-hereditary. The limits on number of holders excludes honorary awards to foreign citizens. [1] (http://www.rajakita.org.my/portal_bi/rk6/rk6.php)

Tun

Tun is the highest non-royal title and is limited to 25 living holders at any one time. The wife of a Tun is Toh Puan. [2] (http://www.rajakita.org.my/portal_bi/rk6/rk6a.php?id=rk6_3) [3] (http://www.rajakita.org.my/portal_bi/rk6/rk6a.php?id=rk6_9) The latest recipients (as of June 2005) in Malaysia are former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, who were both bestowed the title upon the former's retirement from politics and the government in October 2003.

This award is only available for citizens but foreigners may receive the award in an honorary capacity and use the title locally. The number of foreigners holding this award does not count towards the limit.

Tan Sri

Tan Sri is the second highest title and is limited to 75 living holders at any one time. The wife of a Tan Sri is Puan Sri. [4] (http://www.rajakita.org.my/portal_bi/rk6/rk6a.php?id=rk6_4) [5] (http://www.rajakita.org.my/portal_bi/rk6/rk6a.php?id=rk6_10)

This award is only available for citizens but foreigners may receive the award in an honorary capacity and use the title locally. The number of foreigners holding this award does not count towards the limit.

Datuk

Datuk titles are conferred by the federal government since 1965 and limited to about 200 holders. The wife of Datuk is Datin. [6] (http://www.rajakita.org.my/portal_bi/rk6/rk6a.php?id=rk6_12) [7] (http://www.rajakita.org.my/portal_bi/rk6/rk6a.php?id=rk6_13) ( source is not accessible)

This award is only available for citizens but foreigners may receive the award in an honorary capacity and use the title locally. The number of foreigners holding this award does not count towards the limit.

Some states also confer awards that carry the title of "Datuk". The award of these titles is determined by the individual rulers and there is no set limit on the number of state Datuks. The record on the number of Datukships given out in one year is 2004 by the Sultan of Pahang whereby 92 were awarded in conjunction with his 74th birthday.

The titles may be withdrawn by the rulers.

State titles

The following titles, which roughly correspond to the British knighthood, can be granted by the Ruler or Governor of each state. They are honorary and non-hereditary.

Dato'

  • Dato' Seri Utama is the highest state title, below Tun but above Tan Sri. The wife of a recipent is "Datin Seri Utama" .
  • Dato' Seri or Dato' Paduka ranks below the federal titles above. The wife of a Dato' Seri is a Datin Seri.
  • Dato' (also Datuk) is the most common chivalrous title. The wife of a Dato' is a Datin, except in Terengganu where they are known as "To' Puan".
  • There are also hereditary Datukships from Negeri Sembilan. These are not conferred by the ruler, but passed on through the customary native laws. The wife of a hereditary Dato' is addressed by courtesy as "To' Puan".

Some state rulers grant awards which carry titles unique to that state, such as the Dato' Seri diRaja of the state of Perak, Dato' Wira of the state of Melaka (Malacca) and Datuk Amar and Datuk Patinggi of the state of Sarawak and Datuk Seri Panglima of the state of Sabah.

Honorary styles

The following are both used as styles, before a person's title, and (by themselves) as forms of address:

  • Tuan Yang Terutama (T.Y.T.) is the style of a state Governor, equivalent to "Your/His Excellency" and also as a title for serving Ambassadors to Malaysia, e.g. T.Y.T. En Christopher J. LaFleur.
  • Yang Amat Berhormat (Y.A.B.) is the style of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, Tuns who are also Members of Parliament and the Chief Ministers of the states.
  • Yang Berhormat (Y.B.) is the style of Members of Parliament and state Legislative Assemblymen. A prince who is a Member of Parliament is "Yang Berhormat Mulia" eg Yang Berhormat Mulia Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah, the MP for Gua Musang. "Yang Berhormat" is also used for recipients of the First Class Order of the Crown of Johor (S.P.M.J.) regardless whether he is a Member of Parliament or not.
  • Yang Amat Arif (Y.A.A.) is the style of the Chief Justice of Malaysia, the President of the Malaysian Court of Appeal, the Chief Judge of the High Court of Malaya and the Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak.
  • Yang Arif (Y.A.) is the style of a judge.
  • Yang Berbahagia (Y.Bhg.) (and variants thereof) are the styles of persons with a chivalrous title.

The English versions of these styles follow British usage. Thus the Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers, Senators, state Executive Councillors and judges of the High Court and above are styled the Honourable. It is a solecism to style the Prime Minister or a Chief Minister Right Honourable as they are not members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.

Other titles

  • Syed is the title of men who can trace direct blood descent from the Prophet from his grandson Hussein. Female descendants are known as Syarifah. However, Syed has also been used as a name by some parents and no longer is indicative of any such heritage.
  • Megat is the title given to the son whose born in the line of Megat, which inherit the royal blood from the father side.The female descendant is given the title Puteri.This line of royalty is categorized as ningrat.When a Puteri married to a commoner (non-royalty) the descendants are given title Tun. Tun is this case is a birth-right title.
  • Meor is the title given to the son whose mother a Syarifah married a non-syed. Mainly practised in the state of Perak. No title given to female descendents.
  • Wan used by both male and female descendants.
  • Nik used by both male and female descendants. Mainly practised in the states of Kelantan and Terengganu.
  • Haji (or Hajjah) can be used by people who have completed the Hajj.
  • Tuan is equivalent to Master. Due to its feudal overtones, this term is largely obsolete, although the title can still be prepended to Syed and Haji. It is also used for non-titled Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen.
  • Encik is equivalent to Mr and can be used by all men.
  • Puan can be used by all married women. It is equivalent to 'Ms' not 'Mrs' as in the Malay language, married women do not use the names and/or surnames of their husbands.
  • Cik is equivalent to Miss and can be used by all unmarried women.

Non-recognised titles

  • Various persons claiming to be the "Sultan of Mindanao" or the "Sultan of Sulu" have conferred titles of "Datuk". However, these persons are not recognized by the government of the Philippines as such. The titles so conferred are not recognized by the government of Malaysia or the various asociations of Datuks in Malaysia.

Protection of value of titles

Not all Datuks have lived exemplary lives and some have even been convicted of crimes. The various sultans have taken steps to ensure the integrity of the institution.

Tun Dr Mahathir mentioned that one of the problems with titles in Malaysia is the numbers given out. He stated in an interview "Personally, I feel if you want to give value to anything, it must be limited...if you produce a million Ferrari cars, nobody will care about buying a Ferrari."

The Raja Muda (Prince in line of succession) of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah stated "That is my view. You degrade the award and the Ruler has the right to revoke it. In my opinion, it should be taken away." He also stated that "Sometimes, I think we give away too many datukships...it dilutes and devalues the award."

In the first government following the independence of Malaya in 1957, 5 of 15 cabinet Ministers were Datuks. The finance minister at the time, Tan Siew Sin, held the title Justice of Peace. Later he was granted a Federal award which carried the title Tun. The father of Malayan independence, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, received no awards and carried the title "Tunku" which was inherited by him being the prince of the state of Kedah. He was honorarily referred to as "Yang Teramat Mulia". The senate held only 14 datuks and parliament held only 7.

Selangor

  • The datuks of Selangor attempted to set up an association of Selangor Datuks. It received approval from the registrar of societies but was shelved when the Sultan forbade any datuk from joining or risk losing the title.
  • Four datuks were removed in 2003 by the Sultan of Selangor.
  • In 2004 Six Datuks had their titles "suspended" by the Sultan of Selangor. The six are on trial. The palace issued a statement through the state secretary that the title would automatically be withdrawn if they were convicted or restored if they were acquitted. In the meantime they may not use the title "datuk" as issued by the Sultan of Selangor. They may still declare federal titles or titles granted by other states, the six are:
  • Tan Sri Eric Chia Eng Hock who was awarded the Datuk Seri Indera Alam Diraja in 1985 which carries the title "Datuk Diraja". He is on trial for criminal breach of trust. He does not use his Selangor title since he has a higher title.
  • Datuk Saidin Thambi, former Selangor state asseblyman and executive counciller, awarded the Datuk Paduka Mahkota Selangor (DPMS) in 1985 which carries the title "Datuk". On trial for corruption.
  • Datuk Mohd Saberi Salleh, formerly a dean in UiTM, awarded the Datuk Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah (DSSA) in 1999 which carries the title "Datuk". On trial for verifying false invoices.
  • Former Tabung Haji senior general manager Datuk Mohamad Shafie, awarded the Datuk Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah (DSSA) in 1999 which carries the title "Datuk". On trial for cheating.
  • Datuk Mohd Shariff Jajang, former Selangor executive counciller, awarded the Datuk Paduka Mahkota Selangor (DPMS) in 1991 which carries the title "Datuk". Additionally he holds the award Setia-Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah (SSA) awarded 1988. On trial for corruption.
  • Datuk Chow C. K. Kenneth alias A.Wira Tjakrawinata, an Indonesian businessman, awarded the Datuk Paduka Mahkota Selangor (DPMS) in 1999. He is on trial for furnishing false information to the Securities Commission.
  • Robert Chan Win Ing and Tan Hok Low had their datukships withdrawn in 2004.

Pahang

  • The sultan of Pahang revoked the titles of two datuks in 2004.
  • Datuk Seri Koh Kim Teck, executive director of a stockbroking firm, awarded Sri Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang in 2003. He was charged with the murder of his 14 year-old nephew.
  • Datuk Tee Yam lost his Pahang title for involvement in undesirable activities.

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zh:马来西亚封衔

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