Saturday, October 31, 2009



Federation of Malaysia is the only country in the world that has NINE Kings (Rulers) inside. Each King (known as Sultan, Raja or Yang diPertuan besar) rules his own State with his own 'constitutional' power and prerogatives. They perform their duty under the advice of their Menteri Besar. These Rulers forms an official forum body called 'Majlis Raja-raja' or 'Durbar'. The Head of State or 'Yang diPertua Negeri of Melaka, Pulau Pinang, Sabah and Sarawak are also the member of this Council but with limited right; example; they are not entitle to vote for the election of Yang diPertuan Agong. These Head of State were appointed by the Yang diPertuan Agong.

Majlis Raja-raja was formed under the 'Perkara 38' of Malaysian Constitution.This council is a platform for the Malay Rulers and Head of States to meet and discuss matters related to Malay Customaries, and Islamic Affairs and other items that require their views and advices. In some matters, Malaysian Constitution is also provisioned that the Government should seek the advice from this Council. The selection and appointment of the Yang diPertuan Agong is also the responsibility of this Council. Majlis Raja-raja is also the highest authority in terms of Islamic Affairs in Malaysia.

The members of this Council are all the 9 Malay Rulers and 4 Head of States (formerly Governor) in Malaysia. According to the procedures, only the 9 Malay Rulers are qualified to chair the meeting (Durbar) based on the rotation basis (agreed by the Council). The Menteri Besar or Chief Minister attend the Council meeting as an advisor to the Rulers and Head of States.

The Keeper Malay Rulers' Seal (Penyimpan Mohor Besar Raja-raja Melayu) is the Secretary of the Majlis.

The History of 'Majlis Raja-raja' started with the establishment of 'Majlis Raja-Raja Melayu" for the Federated Malay States (FMS). The FMS consist of Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang was establisshed on 1st July 1896. The first meeting (called Durbar) was carried out on 13 to 17 July 1897 at Istana Negara Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar, Perak (the palace of the Sultan of Perak). 'Durbar' is a Urdu-Persia word, means 'king palace' and also a meeting or conference of the kings, governors or viceroys (in India). The Malay Rulers attended the first conference were:
  • DYMM Sultan Idris Murshidul Azzam Shah (Sultan of Perak)
  • DYMM Sultan Abdul Samad (Sultan of Selangor)
  • DYMM Tuanku Muhammad (Yang diPertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan); and
  • DYMM Sultan Ahmad Shah (Sultan of Pahang).
The British Government was represented by:
  • Sir Frank Swettenham (British High Commisiion for the Federated Malay States (Chairman)
  • Sir Charles Mitchell (Governor of Straits States)
  • Sir Hugh Clifford (Resident General for Pahang)
  • J.P. Rodgers (Resident General for Selangor)
  • W.H. Treacher (Resident General for Perak)
Until 1939 the Majlis was sitting for 9 times.

When the Federation of Malaya (Persekutuan Tanah Melayu) established in 1948, the Rulers of Non-Federated Malay States (Johor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu) became a member of 'Majlis Raja-Raja'. And, the name was changed to 'Majlis Raja-Raja'. The first conference was on 18 February 1948 and chaired by the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Major General Sir Ibrahim as he was the most senior Ruler. Between February 1948 till August 1957, there were 50 conferences were conducted.

Sultan Ibrahim, Sultan of Johore

After the Federation of Malay States became independence on 31st August 1957, the membership was inluded the states of Malacca and Pulau Pinang and later followed by Sabah and Sarawak after the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963. The first conference after independence was on 30 and 31st Oct 1957, chaired by Tuan Syed Putra Jamalullail, Raja of Perlis.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong

The title of 'Yang di-Pertuan Agong' is the official title of the Head of Malaysia. The full title is 'Seri Paduka Baginda Yang diPertuan Agong.

Since, Malaysia practices "Constitutional Monarchy System' the roles of "Yang di-Pertuan Agong' are mostly on ceremonial. The Constitution stated clearly that the "Executive" power is theoritically under the Head of States and executed by the 'Cabinet Minister' headed by the Prime Minister.

(I will write more about the selection of Yang diPertuan Agong in the next topic: Monarchy System in Malaysia Part II)

The Malay Rulers attended in the Proclaimation of the first Yang di Pertuan Agong were:

Sultan Sir Abu Bakar Riayatuddin Al-Muadzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdullah Al-Mutassim Billah Shah (Sultan Pahang; 1932-1974)

Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad (Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan (1933-1960)

Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah (Sultan Selangor; 1938-1942, 1945-1960)

Sultan Badlishah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah (Sultan Kedah; 1943-1958)

Sultan Ibrahim Petra ibni Almarhum Sultan Muhammad IV (Al-Sultan Kelantan; 1944-1960)

Tuanku Syed Putra ibni Almarhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail (Raja Perlis; 1945-2000)

Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Zainal Abidin III (Sultan Terengganu; 1945-1979)

Sultan Yusuf Izzudin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Jalil Nasruddin Shah (Sultan Perak; 1948-1963)

Tunku Ismail ibni Sultan Sir Ibrahim (Tunku Mahkota Johor; then became a Sultan 1959-1981)