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System of Government

The system of government in Kutai Kartanegara ing Martadipura Kingdom which then transformed into Kutai Kartanegara ing Martadipura Sultanate, contained the Constitution of Salaten Panji. Panji Salaten was settled in the reign of Aji Pangeran Sinom Panji Mendapa ing Martadipura. It consists of 39 chapters and includes code of law called the Constitution of Beraja Nanti containing 164 rules. Both of the laws contain rules which was based on Islamic law.

According to Panji Salaten, King or Sultan is most powerful in the system of governance structure. As they think logically, the one who could be able to ensure their welfare and safety is just a King or Sultan. This statement can be found in chapter 14 briefly it states: "The King of the noble, indeed hereditary King ... His words bring good luck, a soul in the country .... Everything that has become the king's decision can not be contested (article 26), except those great and wise (advisers and scholars) consulted with the King or Sultan to change the decision (article 15). Periodically, the King may listens to suggestions and considerations of the ministers (Article 18).

Structurally, under the position of a King or Sultan there are positions of ministers which occupied by close relatives of the King or Sultan, such as an uncle. The ministers are in charge to represent the King in a ceremony when the King is unable to attend, hold the position of a King to replace the prince (future king) when the prince was not 21 years old yet, and be an advisor to the king.

The position under the King which is equivalent to ministers are assemblies of great and wise men. This assembly contains the nobles and common people who are really understand the customs of Kutai in order to make rules and submit it to the king. When it is accepted by the king, it will be applied to all people in Kutai Kartanegara ing Martadipura Sultanate. Regulation in Chapter 9 is commonly known as "indigenous Custom".      

There is also a position of minister who plays as a mediator between the King and Ministers with citizens, Punggawa, and some other officials (head of village). He is appointed from Royal relatives or at least a descendant of Royalty. His position and function are all set out in Panji Salaten chapter 17, 18, 37 and 38, such as: execute the king's command and Ministers, shall provide an advice to the King when performing his duties and customary law, and together with Senopati and Punggawa to keep the custom and the law remain as a grip in the royal government.            

Under the ministerial positions are Senopati or district chief. In Panji Salaten Article 21 states that Senopati task is to maintain the safety of the king/emperor, create an implementation of custom regulations, safeguarding the Royal kingdom, and obliged to obey the order of the king, Ministers, and all authenticate rules.

Under the ministers there is also a position of Punggawa which is equivalent to Senopati. Punggawa is a person who leads several villages in charge of maintaining the sustainability of the rules and customs.

The bottom Position under the ministers is head village. This position is usually given to an ordinary person (not a nobleman) who performed good services  to the Sultanate. His function as head of village is to extend the command of Punggawa to citizens and submit the people's aspirations to the royal government.

When the Dutch  colonized the Kutai Kartanegara ing Martadipura Sultanate, there was some change in the system of government. It can be seen from the highest position was no longer by the Sultan but was a resident from Government of Netherlands. It began with signing an agreement by Sultan Muhammad Salehuddin with the Government of the Netherlands in 1825.

The contract in 1825 declared a recognition and ratification of economic life which impact on the system of governance in the Kutai Kartanegara ing Martadipura Sultanate. Taking control over natural resources before the arrival of the Dutch was entirely within the monopoly of Kingdom as stipulated in the Constitution of Beraja Nanti. But after the arrival of the Dutch and also the recognition of sovereignty in 1825, the control over natural wealth was no longer a monopoly of the Sultanate, but it must be shared with the Dutch.

Besides the agreement in 1825, the Dutch has also bound the sultanate with a long contract (lange contract). This was signed on July 17, 1863 between the government of Netherlands, represented by Everard Christian Frederik Happe, Resident der Zuid en Order Afdeeling van Borneo with the Sultanate which represented by Sultan Muhammad Sulaiman. Since the signing of long contract, the Sultanate has officially become autonomous regions of Dutch's territory.

When the Japanese government came to replace the occupation of Dutch, they did not make any significant change. The government of Japan was retaining a form of self-government as established. They only changed the oath of allegiance that previously addressed to the Government of Netherlands (the Queen of Netherlands) to pledge loyalty to Tenno Heika. Further changes were the mention of the head with the title of KOO and the regions under their control called KOOTI.

At the time of independence of Indonesia, the system of government in the Sultanate joint the new government, namely the Republic of Indonesia. In 1947, the Sultanate incorporated into the Federation of East Kalimantan. Two years later, it incorporated into the Republic of United States of Indonesia. Then in 1953, the Sultanate converted into the Special Region of Kutai with Emergency Law No. 3, 1953 became autonomous district level.

Under Law no. 27 of 1959 on "Establishment of Level II Areas of Borneo", the Special District of Kutai is divided into 3 Kutai regencies, namely:

  1. Regional Level II Kutai with capital Tenggarong
  2. Municipality of Balikpapan with capital Balikpapan
  3. Municipality of Samarinda with capital Samarinda.

On January 20, 1960, APT Pranoto as the Governor of East Kalimantan, on behalf of the Minister of Home Affairs inaugurated three person as head of the Regional Level II, one of them is Raden Aji Padmo as the District Head of Level II Kutai. One day later, January 21, 1960, at the Hall of Kutai Kartanegara ing Martadipura Sultanate in Tenggarong, it was held Special Session of the Provincial House of Representatives of Kutai Special Region. The main purpose of this event was transferring the government administration from the Head Chief of the Special Region of Kutai, Sultan Aji Muhammad Parikesit to Raden Aji Padmo as the Head of District Level II Kutai, Captain Soedjono (Mayor of Samarinda), and AR Sayid Mohammad (Mayor of Balikpapan). According to this transfer of administration, the Government of Kutai Kartanegara ing Martadipura Sultanate under Sultan Aji Muhammad Parikesit was ended.

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