Tue, 11 Mar 2003

`Coronation of sultans in Cirebon illegitimate'

Nana Rukmana, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Last week's crowning of two sultans, both claiming the crown of the Kanoman Palace in the West Java town of Cirebon was illegitimate, as neither met the inauguration requirements, said the head of the palace's council of patrons.

Prince Haji Muhammad Imamudin said several requirements were skipped during last week's inaugurations, which saw Cirebon gain two new sultans.

"The coronations were not marked by the passing of the Keris (a traditional dagger) Kyai Sarpanaga," said Imamudin. He is the younger brother of the late Prince Haji Muhammad Djalaluddin, the eleventh sultan of the kingdom.

Djalaluddin died last year and his family has since been in dispute over who should replace him. Eventually, two of his sons stepped up to take over the crown. Prince Muhammad Saladin was crowned as Sultan Kanoman last Wednesday. The day after, Prince Raja Muhammad Emirudin was also crowned as Sultan Kanoman.

Djalaluddin appointed in his will Saladin as his successor. But this was against the Kanoman tradition, which stipulates that the sultan's first son from the queen is the legitimate heir to the throne. Saladin is Djalaluddin's son from one of his concubines.

Imamudin said he still held the Keris Sarpanaga, without which no one could take over Djalaluddin's crown.

He also feared that greed may have underlined the royal dispute. The kingdom owned 1.020 hectares of land in the city of Cirebon, which, he claimed, was worth Rp 5.1 trillion (about US$573 million).

"That does not include the 30,000 hectares in Indramayu regency," he added.

Head of the local council Suryana raised a similar suspicion, citing that the Kanoman kingdom was the richest of Cirebon's kingdoms, which also include Kasepuhan and Kacirebonan.