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Malaysian princess marries Dutchman in lavish ceremony

The groom, Dennis Muhammad Abdullah, converted to Islam in 2015

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 August, 2017, 8:21pm
UPDATED : Monday, 14 August, 2017, 8:43pm

The daughter of one of Malaysia’s most powerful sultans married her Dutch fiancé on Monday in a lavish ceremony steeped in centuries of tradition.

Princess Tunku Tun Aminah Sultan Ibrahim, 31, the only daughter of the Sultan of Johor, tied the knot with Dennis Muhammad Abdullah, 28, following a three-year romance.

The Dutchman, who has converted to Islam, and the princess were married according to Muslim Malay custom at the Serene Hill Palace, the royal family’s residence in the southern city of Johor Bahru. The private ceremony was attended by close family and friends.

The groom wore traditional white wedding attire and the bride a white dress. Dennis Muhammad placed the wedding ring on Tunku Aminah’s finger in a special room in the palace, according to the royal press office. And in keeping with wedding customs in the Muslim-majority southern state of Johor, he also gave her a dowry of 22.50 ringgit (US$5), and the couple kissed the hands of their parents, aunts and uncles as a mark of respect.

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An evening reception on Monday night, however, promised to be the main event, featuring a “sitting-in-state” ceremony, with some 1,200 guests expected to attend and crowds watching the event on a big screen in a city square.

Preparations in recent days have been frantic, 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,” said Azim Mohamad Nurazim, a 34-year-old local salesman.

“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 both wealthy and powerful, possessing its own private army.

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 will step 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.