Lamantijiji takes reign as Sultan Deli XIV - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

Hundreds of Malay nobles in Medan bowed their heads as they paid their respects to their new leader, eight-year-old Sultan Deli XIV, in an emotional ceremony on Friday.

The new potentate, whose full name is Tengku Mahmud Aria Lamantijiji, was inaugurated a day after his father, Sultan Deli XIII Lt. Col. Tito Otman Mahmud Padrab, died in an plane crash in North Aceh along with two other Army officers.

The boy, whose eyes glistened with tears, was inaugurated next to the remains of his father.

His mother, Siska Marabintang, the daughter of former South Sulawesi governor Zainal Basri Palaguna, sobbed throughout the event.

After the inauguration, Titos remains were buried in a family cemetery near Medans Al Mahsum Grand Mosque.

The inauguration lasted for 10 minutes and began when Datuk Serba Nyaman Syaiful Ikhsan read out a statement proclaiming Lamantijiji the new sultan.

Datuk Suka Piring Fauzi Moris then gave the boy the Bawar Sword and Golden Layered Ivory Kris, two symbols of the sultanate that are hundreds of years old.

Following tradition, the new Sultan Deli XIV pulled the two heirlooms from their scabbards and the attendees spoke "Hail, Mlord."

The ceremony has a long history, with the first Sultan of Deli, Tuanku Panglima Qocah Pahlawan, inducted in 1632.

As Lamantijiji is only eight, Raja Muda Tengku Hamdy Usman Deli Khan has been appointed as his protector. He will relinquish his powers as acting sultan when the boy reaches adulthood.

Lamanjiji, is a student at Kelapa Kembar elementary school in Subang, West Java; the place where his father, an officer in the Siliwangi military command, was normally based. Tito had been assigned to Aceh for the past nine months and was due to return to Subang in August.

After the ceremony, Lamantijiji said that he hoped to be a soldier like his father and was happy to become the new sultan.

"However, at the same time I am sad that my father has died. He loved my mother, my brother and I," Lamantijiji said.

Spokesman for the family, Megat Zulfan Yatim said on Saturday the Deli Sultanate had at least 400,000 subjects, mostly from Malay tribes.

Before Indonesian independence, the Deli Sultan was actively involved in politics, religion and culture, a role that was narrowed to that of cultural leader after the ratification of the countrys Constitution.

The sultan opens his house to his subjects and blesses them during Idul Fitri celebrations.

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