KOTA BHARU – The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V has always preferred local songket (rich and luxurious hand-woven fabric) weavers to produce his ceremonial songket attires.
Since the day when His Majesty was still the Tengku Mahkota Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V had been commissioning Pantas Batek and Enterprise, the company behind Che Minah Songket brand, to produce his ceremonial attires.
It was no surprise as Che Minah Songket has been the preferred songket weaver for the Kelantan royal family including His Majesty’s late grandfather, Sultan Yahya Petra and his father Sultan Ismail Petra.
Proud to be given the trust, Pantas Batek and Enterprise manager Zuhairi Abdullah said they had produced four ceremonial songket attires for Sultan Muhammad V so far, namely in yellow, white, blue and the latest one in red, embroidered with gold threads.
“When His Majesty was the Tengku Mahkota Kelantan, his ceremonial attire was in yellow and after he ascended the throne as the Sultan of Kelantan, his ceremonial songket attire was in white and blue,” said Zuhairi when met at Che Minah Boutique in Penambang here.
His Majesty also donned the blue songket attire produced by Pantas Batek and Enterprise when he left Kelantan for the federal capital Kuala Lumpur to ascend the throne as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong for a five-year reign on Dec 13, last year.
Zuhairi said, the King had also donning the same blue songket attire to welcome the arrival of King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia on March 1 and French President Francois Hollande on March 28.
The latest order the company received from the Kelantan Palace is to prepare one set of Baju Melayu Songket for the Sultan in red with gold threads, he said.
When comes to motifs used on the songket, Zuhairi said the blue costumes featured ‘Kuih Manis’ motifs all over except at the hemline which featured ‘Pagar Kota Raja’ motifs.
As for the white and red costumes, both were featuring ‘Bunga Cermai Tapak Sulaiman’ motifs on the fabric and ‘Siku Lawi’ motifs at the hemline.
“It would take us about a month to complete the full set of the songket attire for His Majesty, including the top and trousers, ‘samping’ (three-quarter length or full sarong-style cloth), ‘bengkung’ (royal waist buckle) and ‘tengkolok’ (royal headdress).
“As the songket was made by weaving fine and delicate silk threads, a weaver with 40 years of experiences was assigned for His Majesty’s attire to avoid any defects on the fabric and designs,” said Zuhairi, the fifth generation of songket weaver, whose grandmother Che Minah Omar was a songket weaver when the business was established in 1940s.
Zuhairi said due to His Majesty’s humble nature, he rarely made any request for new attire and often seen to have used the existing ones repeatedly.
Sultan Muhammad V was elected as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong to replace Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah who completed his term as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Dec 12 last year and the installation ceremony of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V will be conducted at Istana Negara on April 24. – BERNAMA