New research published by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) claims to shed light on the final days of mythic Malay warrior and hero Hang Tuah, who up until now was thought to have died in his home of Malacca.
Senior Fellow of UPM’s Modern Language and Communications Faculty, Professor Emeritus Dr Hashim Musa who headed the research team, says Hang Tuah might have migrated to Temasek (modern-day Singapore) and then to Riau in Palembang, Indonesia when he was 80 years old, and stayed there until the end of his life.
The new findings are corroborated by historical accounts by Riau residents and the claims by locals that they discovered Hang Tuah’s grave there.
The UPM research team also ran DNA tests on the remains found in the grave in Riau against that of Hang Tuah’s known descendants.
If it is true that Hang Tuah did indeed die and was buried in Palembang, his tomb in Tanjung Keling, Malacca might merely be a memorial marker.
Dr Hashim adds that his research into Hang Tuah’s personal history also lends credence to the waunted warrior having journeyed to as far as Okinawa in Japan.
His research team travelled to Okinawa in October to inspect a keris found there in the Engkajui Temple in 2002, believed to have been owned by Hang Tuah.
Also examined during their expedition to Okinawa were 19 letters that were in the possession of the Ryukyu Empire, which detailed correspondence between the Malacca Malay Sultanate and the government of Okinawa, which was a Chinese protectorate at the time.
Three of the letters they examined were allegedly composed and signed by Hang Tuah.
An alleged descendant of Hang Tuah, 50-year old Ismail Mohamed Yaacob, told Berita Harian that the new findings proved his ancestor’s disputed existence was fact, not myth.
“I’m ready and willing to provide cooperation and assistance on the subject of Hang Tuah to help verify any new research,” he said.