Abdul Rahman of Negeri Sembilan

Tuanku Sir Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad GCMG (Jawi: توانكو سر عبدالرحمن ابن المرحوم توانكو محمد; 24 August 1895 – 1 April 1960) was Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan from 1933, and the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong of the Federation of Malaya from 1957, until his death in 1960.

Abdul Rahman
Abdul Rahman, c. 1950s
Yang di-Pertuan Agong I
Reign31 August 1957 – 1 April 1960
Installation2 September 1957
PredecessorPosition established
Elizabeth II (as Queen)
Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan
Reign3 August 1933 – 1 April 1960
Installation25 April 1934
Born(1895-08-24)24 August 1895
Istana Lama Seri Menanti, Seri Menanti, Negeri Sembilan, Federated Malay States
Died1 April 1960(1960-04-01) (aged 64)
Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Federation of Malaya
Burial5 April 1960
Seri Menanti Royal Mausoleum, Seri Menanti, Negeri Sembilan, Federation of Malaya
SpouseCik Engku Maimunah binti Abdullah (Dulcie Campbell)
Tunku Maharun binti Tengku Mambang
(m. 1929⁠–⁠1960)

Tunku Zaidah binti Tunku Zakaria
Tunku Aida
Tunku Ja'afar
Tunku Sheilah
Tunku Abdullah
Tunku Munawir
Tunku Bahiyah
Tunku Shahariah
Tunku Noraida Zakiah
Tunku Abdul Rahman ibni Tuanku Muhammad
Regnal name
Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad
HousePagaruyung (House of Yamtuan Raden)
FatherTuanku Muhammad ibni Almarhum Tuanku Antah
MotherTunku Halija binti Tunku Muda Chik
ReligionSunni Islam

Early career

Abdul Rahman in 1937.

Born at Seri Menanti on August 24, 1895,[1] he was the second son of Tuanku Muhammad ibni Tuanku Antah, first Yang di-Pertuan Besar of modern Negeri Sembilan and seventh Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Seri Menanti (1888–1933) by his second wife, Tunku Puan Chik.[citation needed]

He received his primary education at the Jempol Malay School, going on to the Malay College between 1907 and 1914. He worked at the Federal Secretariat in Kuala Lumpur for a period of one year before being appointed Assistant Collector of Land Revenue in Seremban. He served in the Malayan Volunteer Infantry as a second lieutenant, and was promoted lieutenant in 1918.[2]

On the death of his elder brother, Tunku Abdul Aziz, in 1917, he was groomed as heir to the throne and received the title of Tunku Muda Serting.

He was later appointed as Assistant Malay Officer in Klang before being transferred to Sepang. He was then assigned to work in Ulu Selangor as Assistant Collector of Land Revenue. As a result of his perseverance and diligence, he was promoted to Assistant District Officer. The turning point of his career was in 1925, when he served for a short period in the Kuala Lumpur Supreme Court.

In 1925, he accompanied his father, who was then the ruler of Negeri Sembilan, on a trip to the United Kingdom for the British Empire Exhibition in Wembley and to visit King George V. During the journey to the United Kingdom, he decided he wanted to study law.[1] With the approval of his father Tuanku Muhammad, he stayed in the United Kingdom until he completed his studies and received a degree in law.

He stayed on to qualify as a barrister from Inner Temple. Three years later, in 1928, he was admitted to the bar.[1] In London, he was elected first President of the Kesatuan Melayu United Kingdom, one of the earliest Malay nationalist groups.

Upon returning to Malaya in December 1928, he served in the Malayan Civil Service in various parts of the country.[3] For the first few years, he worked hard until he became a Magistrate. Subsequently, he was appointed District Officer.

Election as Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan

Signature of the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948, and the State Agreements, at King's House, Kuala Lumpur, on Wednesday 21 January 1948.

In 1933, following the death of his father, he succeeded him onto the throne of Negeri Sembilan.[1] At that time, he was already an advocate, hence making him the only Malay ruler with an advocate and solicitor's qualifications.

Abdul Rahman (as he became) admitted to British interrogators that he had made speeches in favour of the Japanese during the latter's military occupation of Malaya (1942–1945) but this had been done under duress and that the Japanese forcibly removed certain of his royal privileges.[4]

Although he subsequently signed the Malayan Union treaty, he repudiated it later and upon the suggestion of Sultan Badlishah of Kedah, engaged a London-based lawyer to represent the case of the Malay rulers against the Malayan Union plan of Clement Attlee's government.[5]

Election as Yang di-Pertuan Agong


Abdul Rahman was elected first Yang di-Pertuan Agong or Paramount Ruler of independent Malaya on 31 August 1957 for a five-year term by eight votes to one, defeating the more senior Sultan Abu Bakar of Pahang.[6]

He had been the ruler of Negeri Sembilan for 24 years before being elected as the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong.



Abdul Rahman was installed as the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong of independent Malaya on 2 September 1957 at the throne room of the Istana Negara.

As Malay rulers do not traditionally possess crowns, he was installed by kissing the royal kris of state (keris kerajaan) to the beat of the nobat, a tradition which has been followed by every Yang di-Pertuan Agong since.

In honour of Abdul Rahman, all subsequent Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia have also used the headdress with Dendam Tak Sudah (literally Unending Revenge) style, the fashion employed in Negeri Sembilan.[7]

Death and funeral


Abdul Rahman died in his sleep at the Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur in the early morning of 1 April 1960. The lying in state was held at the Banquet Hall of the Istana Negara. On 2 April 1960, a state funeral procession was held in Kuala Lumpur, whereupon Abdul Rahman's teak coffin was then taken by train to Seremban and later by hearse to the Istana Besar, Seri Menanti. He was buried at the Royal Mausoleum in Seri Menanti, Negeri Sembilan on 5 April 1960.[8]



Abdul Rahman's portrait has been featured on the obverse of Malaysian Ringgit banknotes since the first series was issued in 1967.

Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman (English: Tuanku Abdul Rahman School; abbr. STAR) is a premier, all-boys fully residential school in Malaysia funded by the Government of Malaysia and is named after Abdul Rahman. It is located in Ipoh, Perak and was built in 1957.

Belief in democracy


Abdul Rahman believed strongly in parliamentary democracy and one of his most memorable quotes was to a foreign dignitary from the Middle East who in 1959 complained about Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj's "high handed" manner and wanted the King to sack him. To which he replied: "Alas I can't sack him; he is elected by the people, and as Prime Minister of the country he can sack me!"[9]

Family life

Che Engku Maimunah bt Abdullah, former wife of Tuanku Abdul Rahman and mother of Tuanku Ja'afar. The Tuanku Ja'afar Royal Gallery, Seremban.

Abdul Rahman married four times. His marriages were to:

  1. in 1919 to Dulcie Campbell, a Eurasian nurse who embraced Islam and took the name Cik Maimunah (divorced)
  2. in 1920 to Tunku Maharun binti Tunku Mambang, a member of the Negeri Sembilan royal family (divorced)
  3. in 1929 to Tunku Kurshiah binti Tunku Besar Burhanuddin, a cousin, who became first Raja Permaisuri Agong or Queen of Malaya [10]
  4. in 1948 to Tunku Zaidah binti Tunku Zakaria, another cousin.[11]

Abdul Rahman fathered three sons and five daughters. His second wife, Tuanku Maharum gave birth to his firstborn son, Tuanku Munawir. Cik Engku Maimunah, his first wife, gave birth to two sons and two daughters. The eldest is Tunku Aida, followed by Tuanku Ja'afar, Tunku Sheilah and Tunku Abdullah.[12] Tunku Kursiah, his third wife, gave birth to two daughters. His fourth wife, Tunku Zaidah, gave birth to his youngest child, a daughter.

Two of his sons succeeded him as Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan:

  1. Tuanku Munawir (son of Tunku Maharun), who reigned from 1960 to 1967 as the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Besar.
  2. Tuanku Ja'afar (son of Dulcie Campbell), who succeeded his brother in 1967, as the tenth Yang di-Pertuan Besar, and reigned till 27 December 2008. He served as the tenth Yang di-Pertuan Agong from 1994 to 1999.

His grandson, Tuanku Muhriz, currently reigns as the eleventh Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan.

His daughter, Sultanah Bahiyah, from his third marriage to Tunku Kurshiah served as Sultanah of Kedah upon the accession of her husband, Sultan Abdul Halim, in 1958 until her death in 2003. She also served as the fifth Raja Permaisuri Agong of Malaysia from 1970 to 1975.


Name Birth Date Death Date Marriage Date Spouse Issue Grandchildren
Che Engku Maimunah binti Abdullah (m. 1919, divorced)
Tunku Aida 27 May 1920 29 May 1937 Tunku Ma’amor bin Tunku Usoh Tunku Datuk Sri Mizan
Tunku Ainunnisa
Tunku Ainah
Tunku Maztom 3 daughters
Tunku Puan Sri Arishah 2 sons and 3 daughters
Tuanku Ja’afar 19 July 1922 27 December 2008 8 August 1942 Tunku Najihah binti Almarhum Tunku Besar Burhanuddin Tunku Tan Sri Naquiah Tunku Nadzimuddin
Tunku Datin Mir'atun Madihah
Tunku Nasaifuddin
Tunku Nasruan Adil
Tunku Dato' Seri Utama Naquiyuddin Tunku Mohamed Alauddin
Tunku Alia Nadira
Tunku Nadia Sahiya
Tunku Khairul Zaim
Tunku Tan Sri Dato' Seri Imran Tunku Abdul Rahman Aminullah

4 step-children

Tunku Puteri Puan Sri Dato' Seri Jawahir Tengku Azra Jahan Juzaila
Tengku Aslahuddin Ja’afar
Tengku A'zran Abdul Jawaad
Tunku Dato' Seri Irinah Tengku Alam Shah Amiruddin
Tengku Aiman Shahirah
Tunku Dato' Seri Nadzaruddin Tunku Muhammad Hazim Shah Raden
Tunku Muhammad Mish’al Raden
Tunku Ines Najiha Raden
Tunku Sheilah 2 May 1924 25 May 2023 23 August 1942 Tunku Daud bin Tunku Besar Burhanuddin Tunku Ivy Mu’hsinah Putri Sian Shaharia binti Sharif Winter
Tengku Datuk Munasir Tunku Mutalib
Tunku Muzaffar
Tunku Maisura Adibah
Tunku Mu’tasim Tunku Mahzuz
Tunku Mahir
Tunku Masna
Tunku Mukhrizah
Tunku Roxana Paul Kamil Lafrance
Sarah Melane Lafrance
Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah 2 May 1925 19 August 2008 22 April 1946

(div. 1958)

Tunku Zahara binti Tunku Zakaria Tunku Dato’ Sri Iskandar Tunku Idalyn Mazura
Tunku Izrina Mazuin
Tunku Izora Mulaika
Tunku Hajjah Marina Ashraf Mazran Zamani
Mazlina Zairin
Mizfarah Zara
Mazrah Zuraihan
Tunku Dato’ Kamil Ikram Tunku Shazwan Kaiyisha
Tunku Arina Nakita
Tunku Arina Nashita
6 August 1959 (div. 30 March 1966) Che Ho Yuzin binti Abdullah Tunku Dato’ Yaacob Khyra Tunku Elana Khyra
Tunku Leana Khyra
Tunku Amaan Khyra
Tunku Nadya Khyra
Tunku Omaan Khyra
Tunku Imaan Khyra
Tunku Rmaan Khyra
Tunku Yahaya Tunku Mikael
Tunku Halim Tunku Kristina Radin
Tunku Adam Radin
30 March 1966 (div. 20 February 1970) Cik Khadija binti Abdullah Tunku Soraya Dakhlah
21 April 1973 (div. 1991) Che Engku Chesterina binti Abdullah
10 August 1991 (div. 1996) Cik Engku Maimunah binti Abdullah
25 April 1997 Puan Sri Che Engku Rozita binti Ahmad Baharuddin Tunku Muhammad Shah
Tunku Intan Kursiah
Tuanku Ampuan Maharunnisa binti Tunku Mambang (m. March 1921, div. 1923)
Tuanku Munawir 29 March 1922 14 April 1967 1 January 1940 Tuanku Ampuan Durah binti Almarhum Tunku Besar Burhanuddin Tunku Umpa Munawirah Tengku Mu'adzam Sadruddin
Tengku Munawir Islahuddin
Tengku Mu'amir Izzuddin
Tunku Mudziah Syed Mashafud-din bin Syed Badaruddin Jamalullail
Sharifa Basma Alawiya binti Syed Badaruddin Jamalullail
Sharifa Bahiya Abla binti Syed Badaruddin Jamalullail
Sharifa Bashira Asma binti Syed Badaruddin Jamalullail
Tuanku Muhriz Tunku Ali Redhauddin
Tunku Zain Al-'Abidin
Tunku Alif Hussein Saifuddin Al-Amin
Tunku Datin Anne Dakhlah Siti Mazeera
Siti Mazlina
Siti Mazlynda
Tunku Deborah 2 daughters
Tunku Datin Deanna Tengku Amera Nafisah
Tengku Nadia Azrina
Tengku Dahira Azirah
Tuanku Kurshiah binti Almarhum Tunku Besar Burhanuddin (m. 21 March 1929)
Sultanah Bahiyah 24 August 1930 26 August 2003 9 March 1956 Al-Sultan Al-Mu’tassimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Al-Haj Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah Tunku Soraya binti Almarhum Tengku Abdul Aziz


Raja Nabil Imran
Raja Idris Shah
Raja Sarina Intan Bahiyah
Raja Safia Azizah
Raja Sifuddin Muadzam Shah
Tunku Sarina binti Almarhum Tengku Abdul Aziz


Tan Sri Tunku Puteri Intan Shafinaz
Tunku Hajah Shahariah 8 April 1932 25 October 1956 Tunku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail Al-Khalidi Tunku Abu Bakar Tunku Kurshiah Aminah Atiah
Tunku Abdul Rahman Burhanuddin
Tunku Aishah Johara
Tunku Zaidah binti Tunku Zakaria (m. 1948)
Tunku Noraida Zakiah 6 December 1950 Encik Abdul Rahim bin Abdul Manaf Putri Norashiqin

Hobbies and interests


Abdul Rahman had an interest in sports such as cricket, football and tennis. His favourite sport was boxing. When he was young, he would wear boxing gloves to box with his sons.

Awards and recognitions


National Honours


Foreign Honours


Places named after him


Several places were named after him, including:


  1. ^ a b c d Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abdul Rahman, Tuanku". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. pp. 21. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
  2. ^ Abdul Samad Idris (1961) Takhta Kerajaan Negeri Sembilan Utusan Printcorp Sdn Bhd
  3. ^ ibid
  4. ^ Stockwell, A.J. (1995) Malaya: Part I The Malayan Union Experiment 1942–1948 HMSO
  5. ^ Ismail Haji Saleh (1989) The Sultan Was Not Alone State Museum, Kedah Darul Aman
  6. ^ (4 August 1957) Sunday Times, Singapore
  7. ^ Fish, William ed. (1959) The Straits Times Annual
  8. ^ Mubin Sheppard (1960) The Death and Funeral of His Late Majesty Tuanku Abdul Rahman Malaya in History Vol 6 No. 1 Malayan Historical Society, Kuala Lumpur
  9. ^ Tunku Abdul Rahman (1977) Looking Back, p. 205, Pustaka Antara
  10. ^ Finestone, Jeffrey and Shahril Talib (1994) The Royal Families of South East Asia pp. 198–199 Shahindera Sdn Bhd
  11. ^ Mubin Sheppard ‘’op cit
  12. ^ Halim, Tunku. Tunku Abdullah – A Passion for Life. All-Media Publications, 1998, pp. 25–26.
  13. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1958" (PDF).
  14. ^ "KING'S JUBILEE MEDAL AWARDS IN MALAYA". Straits Budget. 30 May 1935. p. 16.
  15. ^ "CORONATION MEDALS FOR MALAYA". Morning Tribune. 26 May 1937. p. 23.
  16. ^ "No. 40960". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1956. p. 4.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
office created
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
(Supreme King of Malaysia)

31 August 1957 – 1 April 1960
Succeeded by
Hisamuddin Alam Shah
(Sultan of Selangor)
Preceded by Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan
3 August 1933 – 1 April 1960
Succeeded by