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Traditional Constitution and Laws

The Constitution of Panji Salaten

The prevailing government system of Kartanegara ing Martadipura Sultanate stipulated in the constitution of Panji Salaten. This law was formulated in the reign of Pangeran Sinom Panji Mendapa ing Martadipura (1605-1635 AD). The constitution consists of 39 chapters and there is an attachment rulebook known as constitution of Beraja Nanti that contains 164 chapters. The rules that applied on Panji Salaten and Beraja Nanti are based on Shari'a of Islam.

One of which set in Panji Salaten is regarding the position of King or Sultan. On the mention, King has the highest rank and the most powerful man in the government structure of Kartanegara ing Martadipura Sultanate. According to their belief, King ensures the welfare and safety of people. In this regard, the Constitution of Panji Salaten on the article no 14 mentions that: "The King of noble, originally hereditary king. His words bring luck, soul of the country, as if the Fig Tree, the shelter from harsh weather, its trunk to lean on, a symbol of the country”.

In addition, in other articles was mentioned as follows: Everything that has been the decision of king is inviolable (Article 26), except for those who great and wise (advisers and scholars) in consultation to change King’s decision (Article 15). In applying task, King or Sultan only gives direct orders to Mangkubumi who will give orders to Ministers and Senopati of Sultanate.

The position of Mangkubumi is usually amnestied to relatives. Beside as advisor of Sultanate, he also acts as the representative to attend an event and as the temporary King when the prince is considered not old enough (less than 21 years) to be a King or Sultan.

The constitution of Panji Salaten sets an imperial cabinet structure. The position which equivalent with Mangkubumi is the Assembly of great and wise People. It contains the nobles and commoners who are supposed to understand the customs of Kutai. The assembly takes over as manufacturer's draft regulation prior submission. It will be enforced in Kartanegara ing Martadipura Sultanate after being approved by King. Such regulation is known as "customary customs" set in Article 9 of the Constitution of Panji Salaten.

As for the position, function, and authority of Ministers of Kutai Kartanegara ing Martadipura Sultanate are set in Article 17, 18, 37, and 38. The Constitution mentions that the position of Ministers is under the King and act as mediator between King and Mangkubumi with people, Royal servants, and officials (Head of Village). They are often appointed from relatives or at least those who have the bloodline of nobleness.

As written in the Constitution of Panji Salaten, Ministers’ tasks include carrying out orders of King and Mangkubumi; become consultant of King who is performing his duties and customary laws of Sultanate. Along with Senopati and courtiers to keep the customs and laws to remain as the basic rules of Sultanate and implement hanging punishment for Senopati (commander) who defected to the Sultanate. Along with the King and the Council of the Great and Wise People shall endeavor the welfare of all people for the sake of greatness and glory of Sultanate. In addition, the Ministers are allowed to give warning or make the correction to the decision of King that did not according to the interests of all people.

Article 21 of the Constitution of Panji Salaten sets the tasks, functions, and authorities of Senopati or the imperial commander. The position of Senopati is under the responsibility of Ministers, which his main task is to maintain the safety of King, have responsible for implementation of custom regulations, maintain the security of Kingdom, and obey the orders of King or Sultan, Mangkubumi, as well as all customary customs.

There are also regulations of the duties, functions, and authorities of Punggawa (leader) whose position in one level with the Senopati (both are under the Ministers). Punggawa is the leader in charge of several villages. The main task is to sustain the implementation of rules and customs. This function is similar to the duties performed by Ministers. However, as the position of Punggawa under the Ministers and deals directly with the people, then Punggawa received direct orders from Ministers.

The lowest strata in an imperial cabinet structure of Kutai Kartanegara ing Martadipura Sultanate is the position of village chief. The position is under Punggawa and usually given to an ordinary people whose credited to the Sultanate. Its functions are carrying the command from Punggawa to the people and as the one who gets people's aspiration to be submitted to Punggawa, which will submitted to the Ministers and King or Sultan.

In addition, the Constitution of Panji Salaten also sets the activities of King that periodically should listen to criticism, suggestions, inputs, and considerations of Minister or officials for the Improvement of Sultanate (Article 18). While Article 27 states that given the position of King as a reflection or an example to people, King also be subject to specific regulations that are enhancing the dignity of King, for example: King is prohibited to sit in any place, walk in any place, or eat any food.

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