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System of Government

In Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate government structure, the King occupies the highest position. The King who reins entitled “Sampeyan Dalem ingkang Sinuhun Kanjeng Susuhunan Prabu Sri Paku Buwana Senapati ing Alaga Ngabdulrahman Sayidin Panatagama” abbreviated as “Sri Susuhunan PakubuwonoThis title puts the King on top position: King is the center of power in the world. In another term, King is the number one and most respected man in his country, King is the center of social community, King is as supreme leader of the royal court, King is the head of government and supreme commander of forces, as well as the religious leader.

Since the reign of His Majesty Pakubuwono (1749-1788), the coronation of Surakarta King must obtain permission from the Dutch (VOC that was then followed by the colonial Dutch East Indies). The Dutch have the right to determine which candidates will be appointed as the King. They also had the right to discharge the King as if they desired. Moreover, the King who was chosen must agree on a political agreement or contract made by the Dutch. The hegemony of the Dutch against the internal affairs of the Kingdom had happened long ago. Although it did not pressure as it did since the reign of Pakubuwono III, but during the times of Islamic Mataram Sultanate, Kartasura Hadiningrat Sunanate, and until Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate, the Dutch has always had a way to intervene in the affairs of constitutional monarchy. Colonial hegemony of the internal affairs of the Kingdom was also applied in Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Sultanate and the Duchy Pakualaman in Yogyakarta, as well as the Duchy Mangkunegaran in Surakarta.

The King or Susuhunan is assisted by abdi dalem (courtiers) to run the administration. The Royal servants or Royal officials, which are also called the Royal bureaucracy group is divided into several positions. The implementation of power in Kingdom will affect to the royal authority in public views. Accordingly, the ability of the courtiersboth in loyalty and quality of human resources, will also determine the level of the glory of Kingdom. To help the daily tasks of the King, there is one position called Panitera Dalem who act as the Royal secretary. In addition, there is also Pepatih Dalem who in charge as the Prime Minister. In other words, Pepatih Dalem is the King’s right hand running the administration entitled Adipati (Duke). The same title was also given to the people who are appointed to lead the government in areas outside the capital.

In the reign of His Majesty Pakubuwono X (1893-1939), there were some changes in government structure of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate, which was the administrative separation between inside the capital with the outside of the capital. The administration within the royal capital of the Kingdom is handled by an higher institution named Reh Kasentanan led by Putra Sentono Dalem, while for the administration outside the capital that also called “Pemerintahan Kerajaan Nagari” was assigned to the Duke who oversees Kapatihan Reh. Several institutions under the administration within the Royal Palace are:

  1. The institution in charge of the King, Empress, Concubine, and the sons and daughters of the King, or the Royal family (incorporated in Reh Kasentanan). This is led by Prince Sentana.
  2. The institution supervises the courtiers who work within the Palace (incorporated in Reh Kanayakan) led by Regent Nayaka. Some institutions include in Reh Kanayakan are the institution which deals with the court works, the institution that manages the daily needs of the Palace, the institution that responsible for food and clothing needs of the Palace, the institution in charge of taKing care of siti dhusun, and so on.
  3. The institution in charge of managing the Royal finances in the Kingdom (incorporated in the Institute of Keraton Cash). This is led by Wedana Bupati Gedong.
  4. The institution in charge of managing of the Royal foundations, Royal household, all fixtures of the Palaces, and other Royal activities (incorporated in Reh Parentah). This is led by Wedana (Nayaka).
  5. The institution in charge of managing the efforts of the plantation owned by the Palace, which led by Bupati Pangrembe.
  6. The institution in charge of dealing with Tanah Pamijen (Royal land) and the buildings within the Royal Palace (incorporated in the Property Institute). This is led by Abdi Dalem Pangrembe.

As for the administration outside the capital, whose authority was given to Patih (Duke) under the institution of Reh Kapatihan is divided some organizations or institutions as follows:

  1. The Group of Secretary, the institution deals with the Royal activities, ranks, appointments and dismissal of Abdi Dalem Patih (the courtiers in charge of the economic activities), as well as leading Abdi Dalem Kantor Agraria.
  2. The Group of Finance Manager, the institution has the duties and authorities to handle the Royal financial administration activities, manage the Royal’s foundations, and appoint and dismiss Abdi Dalem Pangreh Praja and Abdi Dalem Pengadilan.
  3. The Group of Courts and Government, the institution in charge of taKing care of the problems of peace, health, education, economy, legislation, and responsible for the appointment and dismissal of Abdi Dalem pangreh Praja and Abdi Dalem Court

In particular, the institution of the Royal Court is an institution in charge of law enforcement efforts creating the discipline order throughout the territory of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate. In addition, it also serves as a deterrent to prevent violations and other crimes that could potentially make the position of the King threatened. Since the strong influence of the Dutch in the internal affairs of the Kingdom administration, the justice system had a little change to be according to what was desired by the Dutch, even though it was implemented in phases. This is what made many policies of the Kingdom affected by the Dutch despite the willingness of most people's empire, the legitimacy of the authority of the King has still being kept.

The procedure regarding the laws and customs of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate was also applicable in Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Sultanate, arranged in the book of Kingdom laws consisting of Nawala Pradata, Angger Sedoso, Angger Ageng, and Angger Gunung. The rules are the legacy of the administrative system in the Sultanate of Islamic Mataram. The book of the Kingdom's laws was undertaken until 1847 along with Angger-Angger Nagari initiated by His Majesty Pakubuwono VII (1830-1858), in 1847, there was an agreement between Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate and the Dutch East Indies colonial government resulted in the decision that the local legal system of Kingdom abolished and replaced with artificial colonial rule of law.

Since 1942, Japan had controlled all the territory previously occupied by the Dutch, including Surakarta. The territory of Surakarta was then called by the name of Kochi, as well as referring to three other descendant Kingdoms of Mataram. Kochi is an autonomous region's equivalent of the residency, which in Japanese is called by the name Syuu. Kochi Surakarta consists of Kochi Sunanate and Kochi Mangkunegaran. During the occupation of the Japanese military, they did not make many changes in government system that had been imposed on Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate, except the name of official titles of administrative regions into Japanese language. The title names of the Regent Position, District officer, assistant district officer, and village chief were replaced into Kentyo, Guntyo, Sontyo, and Kutyo. In addition, they also put their representatives into the system of Royal structure.

On July 31, 1942, the Japanese Commander of Army, Hitoshi Imamura inaugurated His Majesty Pakubuwono XI as the King of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate. The aim was to facilitate Japan's propaganda against the people of Surakarta, i.e. preparing to face the Pacific War. Through the declaration No.53 September 4, 1942, Gunseibu, the militaries of Japan in the area of Kochi were replaced by Kochi Jimu Kyoku (the administrative office of Kingdom). They put the people of Kochi Jimu Kyoku for monitoring the movements of the Kingdom, such as Kochi Jimu Kyoku Tyokan as superintendent of military rule and Somutyokan (General Affairs Authority) who has such authority of Pepatih Dalem to help in dealing with various general problems occur in the Sunanate.

A few days after the proclamation of the independence of Indonesia, His Majesty Pakubuwono XII (1945-2004) received the Charter entitled “Kalenggahan Ingkang Jumeneng Kepala Daerah Istimewa Surakarta” from the Government of Indonesia signed by the President of Republic of Indonesia, Soekarno. That indicated that Surakarta was designated as Special District Surakarta (DIS) as a form of remuneration from the Government of Indonesia on the role of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate and the Duchy of Mangkunegara stating that their territory is part of the Republic of Indonesia. However, due to political instability of Surakarta, the status of Special Region Surakarta had to be revoked. Nevertheless, Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate since then been committed to support the Unitary Republic of Indonesia in accordance with the edicts of His Majesty Pakubuwono XII on September 1, 1945, which states that: (1) His Majesty Pakubuwono XII together with all the Royal relatives of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate stood behind the Government of Indonesia; ( 2) The regions of Surakarta is one of the regions in the Republic of Indonesia, and (3) The relation between Special Region Surakarta and the Central Government of the Republic of Indonesia is direct relation without spacing by any region between both of them.

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