JOHOR BARU: Johor Princess Tunku Tun Aminah Sultan Ibrahim and Dutch-born Dennis Muhammad Abdullah were pronounced husband and wife after their akad nikah (solemnisation of marriage) ceremony at Istana Bukit Serene on Monday.
Dennis Muhammad, looking smart and handsome in a traditional Baju Melayu Teluk Belanga solemnly affirmed his marriage to Tunku Aminah before state mufti Datuk Muhammad Tahrir Shamsudin.
The ceremony, which followed Johor royal tradition, was witnessed by Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar and Permaisuri Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah and close family members and friends.
Present were the groom's parents, Martin and Henriette Verbaas, his brother and sister, as well as close family friends who had flown in from the Netherlands.
The Royal Press Office in a statement said the groom was led to a special room on the first-floor of the palace where the Istiadat Menyarung Cincin (ring ceremony) was performed, during which he placed the wedding ring on Tunku Aminah's fourth ring finger.
He also gave her a mas kahwin (dowry) of RM22.50 (S$7.13).
The couple then jointly paid their respects by kissing the hands of both pairs of parents, as well as their aunts and uncles in the main lobby of the palace.
The families of the bride and groom had earlier exchanged dowries comprising trays laden with gifts carried into the hall by Johor Military Force personnel.
The gifts from the Johor Royal Family to the groom include a copy of the Al-Quran, a prayer mat, a gold ring, a set of traditional Baju Melayu Teluk Belanga and sampin, Sirih Junjung, a cake, the traditional Halwa Maskat dish and Bunga Rampai.
Earlier, during the engagement ceremony, former Johor state secretary Datuk Ismail Karim, in his role as the foster father of Dennis Abdullah, formally requested for Tunku Aminah's hand in marriage from her father Sultan Ibrahim.
Following this, Dennis' mother Henriette placed a ring on Tunku Aminah's fourth finger on her right hand.
The royal wedding ceremony will continue with the Istiadat Bersanding (sitting-in-state) ceremony at Istana Besar (Grand Palace) here, which will be attended by 1,200 guests.
There have been frenetic preparations in recent days, with the grounds of the main palace decorated with bunting and main streets adorned with flags.
“I am taking my wife and two young children to the city square tonight to witness the live broadcast of the evening celebrations,” Azim Mohamad Nurazim, a 34-year-old local salesman, told AFP.
“It is a celebration for all Johoreans. My message to Tunku Aminah and her husband is long and healthy life, and may Allah bless the couple with lots of children.”
The Dutchman, who now works for a property development company in Johor, was born Dennis Verbaas and adopted a Muslim name when he converted to Islam in 2015.
Johor’s royal family is rich and powerful and possesses its own private army – the only state to have one.
Malaysia has a unique arrangement in which the throne of the Muslim-majority country changes hands every five years between the rulers of the nine states which are still headed by Islamic royalty.
The current king is Sultan Muhammad V, from the conservative Islamic northern state of Kelantan, who steps down in 2021.
But Dennis Muhammad is unlikely ever to assume the role since the rulers choose among themselves who the next king will be.