Monday, August 22, 2011

Hukum Kanun Melaka

The early provisions of the Hukun Kanun Melaka gives a picture of a sultanate whose rulers had arrived at a juncture where it was felt that a clear statement or reassertion of their status and power was in order and that the preservation of their position could best be achieved through the compilation of rules. What emerged was a set of rules which, in framing a code of conduct for the negeri (state), reaffirmed the primacy of adat – the customs and traditions of the Malays that had been the mainstay of the evolving society – while at the same time accommodating and assimilating some Islamic principles. The Hukun Kanun included some measure of grandeur and loftiness in the provisions that touched on court culture and its main concern was with the regulation of personal relationships, behaviour and property. The Malacca Malays had already arrived at a stage where distinct and enduring characteristics and values had developed: their day-to-day lives were governed by adat, their socio-political institutions were able to cope with the emergence of Malacca as an important centre of trade, money was widely used, and their language exhibited a remarkable ability to assimilate foreign words. Against this background, the Hukun Kanun Melaka was formulated which the Malacca rulers saw as an important in regulating society. It laid down laws in 44 chapters which also includes a section on maritime law.

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