By Erric Permana
Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Thursday invited kings and sultans from all over Indonesia to meet at the Bogor Palace in West Java.
Around 90 kings and sultans participated in the gathering where the president heard grievances, input, and suggestions from royal families across the country.
"I invite anyone who would like to convey any issues they are facing in their respective areas," President Widodo addressed the crowd.
The majority of them -- around 20 -- hailed from the island of Sumatera, while only two came from Papua.
The royals were decked out in traditional costumes and ranged from the heads of sultanates and kingdoms, as well princes and princesses.
Among them were Sultan Muhammad Putera Ferryandi from West Nusa Tenggara, King Leopold Nicholas Nisnoni of Kupang, and Commander Kapitan Muhammad Ali Alting of the Tidore Sultanate.
Alting asked the president to acknowledge various kingdoms and place their representatives in parliament.
"The sultanates across Indonesia have contributed to the country as well, so the president should appreciate that," he said.
His sentiments were echoed by King Jan Christofel Benjamin from the Baubau Kingdom in East Nusa Tenggara.
"We are very flattered by this special occasion. This gathering shows that the presidential palace cares about and respects the ancient kingdoms of Indonesia and the president is willing to listen to us," he said.
When the country gained independence in 1945, the sultans and kings of Indonesia were stripped of their powers. However, they continue to wield influence and have significant roles in the public life.
Royal courts still exist in Java, Bali, Sumatera, Papua and other islands where locals revere royal families.