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Malay styles and titles

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The Malay language has a complex system of styles, titles and honorifics, which are used extensively in Brunei, Malaysia, and the southern Philippines.

Malaysia, Brunei and several provinces in Indonesia regularly award honorary and life titles. What follows in this article is specific to the Malaysian system. References to Brunei and Indonesia are given when pertinent.

In Malaysia, all non-hereditary 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; such a woman will bear a title which is the same as a titled man.

Former use

Singapore, whose Malay royalty was abolished by the British colonial government in 1891, has adopted civic titles for its leaders.

The Philippines historically used Malay titles during its pre-Hispanic period (especially under Bruneian influence), as evidenced by the titles of historical figures such as Rajah Sulayman, Lakandula and Dayang Kalangitan. Malay titles are still used by the royal houses of Sulu, Maguindanao, Buayan, and Maranao on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, but these are retained on a traditional basis, as the 1987 Constitution explicitly reaffirms the abolition of royal and noble titles in the republic.[1][2][3][4]

Indonesia, meanwhile, as a republic, does not recognize hereditary rulers and aristocratic systems. Nevertheless, their royal titles and honors are still used as courtesy titles.

Usage

The sequence that should be used when formally writing or addressing a person's name is: honorary style, professional rank, royal hereditary title, federal title, state title, non-royal hereditary title, Doctor (of medicine or philosophy), Haji/Hajjah (for Muslim men and women who have performed the Hajj), name.

For instance in the Brunei, the title for one of Bruneian traditional ministers (Pehin-Pehin Cheteria) whose honorary title would be Yang Berhormat, profession rank is Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Lela, state title is Dato Seri Setia, traditional Bruneian Malay prefix title for non-royalty is Awang.

When in the home state, the state title may precede the federal title. An example would be former Chief Minister of Sarawak, Adenan Satem, whose federal title is Tan Sri and state title is Pehin Sri. His title would be expressed as either:

Another exception is when a person has received an award from a state other than the person's home state; when visiting the award-bestowing state, that state's title will take the place of a home state's title (if any). As an example, the current Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir will be titled as follows:

A style carried by virtue of royal title always trumps those carried by non-royal titles. Male royals may choose to append "al-Haj" to their name instead of using "Haji". The following example is correct:

Malay royalty

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

Brunei

The following styles and official titles are used for members of the royal house in Brunei:[citation needed]

For those who have blood-ties with the royal family who are married, styled as Prince or Princess in English, and given the hereditary honorific prefix Pengiran:

The titles for grandchildren apply to great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. For generations following that, the title is only Pengiran.

A person who marries a distant member of the royal family (ie: Pengiran) is given the title Pengiran Anak; the title is lost if they divorce.

Unmarried distant royal children (Pengiran) have the title Awangku if male or Dayangku if female.[5]

Another minor royal titles include:

Malaysia

Federal

Titles of Malaysian royalty and rulers:

Negeri Sembilan

Selangor

Perlis

Terengganu

Kedah

Kelantan

Pahang

Johor

Perak

Federal titles

In Malaysia, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King of Malaysia) grants honours to recipients nominated by the Government of Malaysia as awards which are honorary and non-hereditary. These honours may also be revoked by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or returned by the individual. Some of the highest honours bestowed carries with them the titles of Tun, Tan Sri or Datuk.

There is a maximum number of Malaysian subjects who may be award-holders at any one time. These numerical limits apply only to Malaysian subjects. Foreigners may be awarded such titles in a supernumerary and honorary capacity and may use the title locally.

Tun

The Tun title has existed in Malaysian society for hundreds of years. In ancient times, Tun was an honorific title used by noble people of royal lineage, inherited by the male descendants. Over time, the Tun title has become a title conferred by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to the most-deserving recipient who has highly contributed to the nation.

Tun is the most senior federal title awarded to recipients of either the Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara (Grand Commander of the Order of the Defender of the Realm) (SMN) or Seri Setia Mahkota (Grand Commander of the Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Malaysia) (SSM). However, the SMN and SSM are not the highest federal awards, ranking fourth and fifth, respectively. There may not be more than 25 living holders of each of these awards at any one time. The title for the wife of a Tun is called Toh Puan. The recipients and their wives are then bestowed with the style of Yang Amat Berbahagia or (The Most Felicitous).

The SMN is usually awarded to newly appointed Yang di-Pertua Negeri (YDPN) and to all the retired Prime Ministers of Malaysia with the exception of Najib Razak (making him the first former Prime Minister without the Tun title). Most senior state title "Dato Seri Utama" and "Datuk Seri Utama" share equivalent rank with Tun.

Examples:

Tan Sri

Tan Sri is the second-most senior federal title and a honorific used to denote recipients of the Panglima Mangku Negara (Commander of the Order of the Defender of the Realm) (PMN) and the Panglima Setia Mahkota (Commander of the Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Malaysia) (PSM). The wife of a Tan Sri is called Puan Sri. The recipients and their wives are then bestowed with the style of Yang Berbahagia or (The Felicitous). State title "Dato Sri" and "Dato Seri" share equivalent rank with Tan Sri.

Examples:

Datuk

Datuk is a federal title that has been conferred since 1965. It is limited to recipients of Panglima Jasa Negara (Commander of the Order of Meritorious Service) (PJN) and Panglima Setia Diraja (Commander of the Order of Loyalty to the Royal Family of Malaysia) (PSD). There may be up to 200 living PJN holders and 200 living PSD holders at any one time. The wife of a Datuk is called a Datin. The recipients and their wives are then bestowed with the style of Yang Berbahagia (The Felicitous).

Examples:

State titles

In Malaysia, state honours are awarded by the respective heads of the thirteen states. Such titles are honorary and non-hereditary. State titles may be revoked or suspended by the head of state or may be returned by the individual. In many cases, the number of Malaysian nationals who may hold a state title or honour at one time is limited. Such limits do not apply to foreigners.

Title Awarding state(s) Associated honour(s) Variant
Dato Sri  Sarawak Knight Grand Commander of Most Exalted Order of the Star of Sarawak (SBS) Pehin Sri
Knight Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of Sarawak (PNBS) Dato Sri
Dato' Seri  Kedah Member of the Supreme Order of Sri Mahawangsa (DMK) Dato' Seri Utama
(SMDK) Dato' Seri Utama
Grand Commander of the Order of Loyalty to Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah (SHMS) Dato’ Seri Diraja
Knight Grand Commander of the Glorious Order of the Crown of Kedah (SGMK) Dato’ Seri Wira
Knight Grand Commander of the Exalted Order of the Crown of Kedah (SPMK) Dato’ Seri
Knight Grand Companion of the Order of Loyalty to the Royal House of Kedah (SSDK) Dato’ Seri
 Negeri Sembilan Principal Grand Knight of the Order of Loyalty to Negeri Sembilan (SUNS) Dato’ Seri Utama
Knight Grand Commander of the Grand Order of Tuanku Jaafar (SPTJ) Dato’ Seri
Grand Knight of the Order of Loyalty to Tuanku Muhriz (SSTM) Dato’ Seri
Grand Knight of the Order of Loyalty to Negeri Sembilan (SSNS) Dato’ Seri
 Penang Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Defender of State (DUPN) Dato' Seri Utama
Knight Commander of the Order of the Defender of State (DPPN) Dato' Seri
Commander of the Order of the Defender of State (DGPN) Dato' Seri
 Perak Perak Family Order of Sultan Azlan Shah (Ordinary Class) (SPSA) Dato’ Seri Diraja
Perak Family Order of Sultan Nazrin Shah (Ordinary Class) (SPSN) Dato’ Seri Diraja
Grand Knight of the Azlanii Royal Family Order (DSA) Dato’ Seri
Grand Knight of the Order of Cura Si Manja Kini (SPCM) Dato’ Seri
Grand Knight of the Order of Taming Sari (SPTS) Dato’ Seri Panglima
Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Perak State Crown (SPMP) Dato’ Seri
 Perlis Member of the Order of Dato’ Bendahara Sri Jamalullail (DBSJ) Dato’ Seri DiRaja Bendahara Negara
Knight Grand Companion of the Order of the Gallant Prince Syed Putra Jamalullail (SSPJ) Dato’ Seri Diraja
Knight Grand Companion of the Order of the Gallant Prince Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail (SSSJ) Dato’ Seri Diraja
Knight Grand Companion of the Order of Prince Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail of Perlis (SPSJ) Dato’ Seri Setia DiRaja
Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Crown of Perlis (SPMP) Dato’ Seri
 Selangor Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Crown of Selangor (SPMS) Dato’ Seri
Knight Grand Companion of the Order of Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (SSIS) Dato’ Setia
 Terengganu Knight of the Order of Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu (SUMZ) Dato’ Seri Utama
Knight Grand Companion of the Order of Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu (SSMZ) Dato’ Seri
Member Grand Companion of the Order of Sultan Mahmud I of Terengganu (SSMT) Dato’ Seri
Dato' Sri  Pahang Grand Royal Knight of the Grand Royal Order of Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang (SDSA) Dato' Sri Diraja
Grand Knight of the Order of Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang (SSAP) Dato' Sri
Grand Knight of the Order of the Crown of Pahang (SIMP) Dato' Indera
Datuk Seri  Federal Territory (Malaysia) Grand Knight of Order of the Territorial Crown (SUMW) Datuk Seri Utama
Grand Commander of Order of the Territorial Crown (SMW) Datuk Seri
 Malacca Knight Grand Commander of Exalted Order of Malacca (DUNM) Datuk Seri Utama
Grand Commander of Exalted Order of Malacca (DGSM) Datuk Seri
 Sabah Grand Commander of Order of Kinabalu (SPDK) Datuk Seri Panglima
Datuk Sri  Sarawak Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of Hornbill Sarawak (DP) Datuk Patinggi
Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of Hornbill Sarawak (DA) Datuk Amar
Dato  Sarawak Order of Meritorious Service to Sarawak (DJBS) Datu
Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of Sarawak (PSBS) Dato
Dato'  Johor Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Crown of Johor (SPMJ) Dato’
Knight Grand Companion of the Order of Loyalty of Sultan Ismail of Johor (SSIJ) Dato’
Grand Knight of the Order of Sultan Ibrahim of Johor (SMIJ) Dato’
Knight Commander of the Order of the Crown of Johor (DPMJ) Dato’
Knight Companion of the Order of Loyalty of Sultan Ismail of Johor (DSIJ) Dato’
Knight of the Order of Sultan Ibrahim of Johor (DMIJ) Dato’
 Kedah Knight Commander of the Order of Loyalty to Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah (DHMS) Dato’ Paduka
(DMDK) Dato’ Diraja
Knight Commander of the Glorious Order of the Crown of Kedah (DGMK) Dato’ Wira
Knight Commander of the Exalted Order of the Crown of Kedah (DPMK) Dato’
Knight Companion of the Order of Loyalty to the Royal House of Kedah (DSDK) Dato’
 Negeri Sembilan Knight of the Order of Loyalty to Negeri Sembilan (DSNS) Dato’
Knight Commander of the Order of Loyalty to Negeri Sembilan (DPNS) Dato’
Knight Commander of the Grand Order of Tuanku Jaafar (DPTJ) Dato’
Knight of the Order of Loyalty to Tuanku Muhriz (DSTM) Dato’
Knight of the Order of Loyal Service to Negeri Sembilan (DBNS) Dato’
 Pahang Knight Companion of the Order of Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang (DSAP) Dato'
Knight Companion of the Order of the Crown of Pahang (DIMP) Dato'
 Penang Companion of the Order of the Defender of State (DMPN) Dato'
Officer of the Order of the Defender of State (DSPN) Dato'
 Perak Knight of the Order of Cura Si Manja Kini (DPCM) Dato’
Knight Commander of the Order of Taming Sari (DPTS) Dato’ Pahlawan
Knight Commander of the Order of the Perak State Crown (DPMP) Dato’
 Perlis Knight Companion of the Order of the Gallant Prince Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail (DSSJ) Dato’ Paduka
Grand Commander of the Order of Prince Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail of Perlis (DWSJ) Dato’ Wira
Knight Commander of the Order of the Crown of Perlis (DPMP) Dato’
Knight Commander of the Order of the Gallant Prince Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail (DSPJ) Dato’
Knight Commander of the Order of the Gallant Prince Syed Putra Jamalullail (DPPJ) Dato’
Knight Commander of the Order of Prince Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail of Perlis (DPSJ) Dato’
 Selangor Knight Commander of the Order of the Crown of Selangor (DPMS) Dato’
Knight Companion of the Order of Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (DSIS) Dato’
 Terengganu Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Crown of Terengganu (SPMT) Dato’
Knight Companion of the Order of Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu (DSMZ) Dato’
Member Knight Companion of the Order of Sultan Mahmud I of Terengganu (DSMT) Dato’
Knight Commander of the Order of the Crown of Terengganu (DPMT) Dato’
Datuk  Federal Territory (Malaysia) Knight Commander of the Order of the Territorial Crown (PMW) Datuk
 Malacca Knight Commander of the Exalted Order of Malacca (DCSM) Datuk Wira
Companion Class I of the Exalted Order of Malacca (DMSM) Datuk
Companion Class II of the Exalted Order of Malacca (DPSM) Datuk
 Sabah Commander of the Order of Kinabalu (PGDK) Datuk
 Sarawak Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of Hornbill Sarawak (PGBK) Datuk

Pehin

This title is mainly used in Brunei and Sarawak. An example of the title in Brunei would be Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Bakti Di-Raja Dato Laila Utama Haji Awang Isa, the former Minister of Home Affairs and the current Special Adviser to the Sultan of Brunei.[6] The titles refers to the traditional ministers posts in Brunei.

JP

Justice of Peace (JP) ranks below all Dato' or Datuk. In Malaysia, Justices of Peace have largely been replaced in magistrates' courts by legally-qualified (first-class) stipendiary magistrates. However, state governments continue to appoint Justices of Peace as honours. In 2004, some associations of JPs pressed the federal government to allow JPs to sit as second-class magistrates to reduce the backlog of cases in the courts.

Special cases

If a person has been awarded several honours from different states, the title used varies. For example, sometime Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad is usually referred to as YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad anywhere in Malaysia. However, different terms of address may be used in the states that he visits. In Sarawak, he will be referred to as YAB Tun Pehin Sri Mahathir Mohamad as he received the Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of Sarawak (SBS) from the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sarawak.

While in Sabah, he is referred to as Tun Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, as he received the Grand Commander of the Order of Kinabalu (SPDK) from the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sabah.

Honorary styles

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

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 or the Right Honourable, although technically it is a solecism to style the prime minister or heads of courts Right Honourable as they are not members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.

Other Malay titles by inheritance

Other titles

Related issues

Not all Datuks have lived exemplary lives and some have been convicted of crimes. The various rulers have recently taken steps to ensure the integrity of the institution by means of consultation and the revoking of the given titles.

Mahathir Mohamad mentioned that one of the problems with titles in Malaysia is the numbers of them 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."[This quote needs a citation]

The Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak, 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."[This quote needs a citation]

In the first government following the independence of Malaya in 1957, 5 of 15 cabinet Ministers were Datuks. The Minister of Finance of Malaysia 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 Al-Haj, received no awards and carried the title "Tunku", which he inherited as the prince of the state of Kedah. He was honorarily referred to as "Yang Teramat Mulia" (YTM). The Senate held only 14 Datuks and House of Representatives held only 7.

The Malacca government was criticised for awarding the Datuk title to a non-Malaysian Indian actor, Shah Rukh Khan, for making movies and promoting the Malacca state internationally.[7]

Negeri Sembilan

Pahang

Selangor

See also

References

  1. ^ "Islam reaches the Philippines". Malay Muslims. WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  2. ^ "The Royal House Of Sultan Council. The Royal House Of Kapatagan Valley". Royal Society Group. Countess Valeria Lorenza Schmitt von Walburgon, Heraldry Sovereign Specialist. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  3. ^ "The Royal House of the Sultanate Rajah Buayan". Royal Society Group. Countess Valeria Lorenza Schmitt von Walburgon, Heraldry Sovereign Specialist. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  4. ^ "KIRAM SULTANS GENEALOGY". Royal Sulu. Royal Hashemite Sultanate of Sulu and Sabah. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  5. ^ "pengiran". Malay Dictionary. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  6. ^ Rozan Yunos. "The Daily Brunei Resources: A Pehin in Brunei".
  7. ^ "Shah Rukh Khan dapat Datuk". Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Negeri ruler strips Najib, Rosmah of Datuk Seri titles". Bernama. Malaysiakini. 26 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Selangor Sultan strips Anwar of 'Datuk Seri' title". malaymail online.
  10. ^ "Selangor ruler suspends titles bestowed on Najib, Rosmah pending court cases". Malaysiakini. 10 May 2019. Archived from the original on 10 May 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.