Abdul Rahman of Negeri Sembilan

Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad GCMG (Jawi:توانكو عبدالرحمن ابن المرحوم توانكو محمد‎; 24 August 1895 – 1 April 1960) was the first Supreme Head of State or Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaya of the Federation of Malaya, eighth Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Seri Menanti and second Yang di-Pertuan Besar of modern Negeri Sembilan.

Abdul Rahman
HRH Tuanku Abdul Rahman Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Muhammad. The Tuanku Ja'afar Royal Gallery, Seremban.jpg
1st Yang Di-Pertuan Agong
Reign31 August 1957 – 1 April 1960
Installation2 September 1957
as Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaya
SuccessorHisamuddin of Selangor
Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan
Reign3 August 1933 – 1 April 1960
Installation25 April 1934
PredecessorTuanku Muhammad
SuccessorTuanku Munawir
Born(1895-08-24)24 August 1895
Istana Lama Seri Menanti, Seri Menanti, Negeri Sembilan, Federated Malay States, British Malaya
Died1 April 1960(1960-04-01) (aged 64)
Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaya
Burial5 April 1960
SpouseCik Engku Maimunah binti Abdullah (Dulcie Campbell)
Tunku Maharun binti Tengku Mambang
(m. 1929; died 1960)

Tunku Zaidah binti Tunku Zakaria
Tuanku Ja'afar
Tunku Abdullah
Tunku Aida
Tunku Sheilah
Tuanku Munawir
Sultanah Bahiyah
Tunku Shahariah
Tunku Noraida Zakia
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 careerEdit

Tuanku 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, to be 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 His Majesty King George V. During the journey to the United Kingdom, he decided that 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 Ruler of Negeri SembilanEdit

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.

Tuanku 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 KingEdit

Tuanku 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.


Tuanku 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 Tuanku 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 funeralEdit

Tuanku Abdul Rahman died in his sleep at 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]


Tuanku Abdul Rahman's portrait is still featured on the obverse of Malaysian Ringgit banknotes since the First series which was first 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 the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong of the Federation of Malaya, Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Tuanku Muhammad. It is located in Ipoh, Perak and was built in 1957.

Belief in democracyEdit

Tuanku 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 this, the King 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 lifeEdit

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

Tuanku Abdul Rahman married four times. His marriages were:

  1. in 1919 to Dulcie Campbell, a Eurasian nurse who embraced Islam as 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 (1922–his death), another cousin [11]

Tuanku Abdul Rahman has three sons and five daughters. His second wife, Tuanku Maharum gave birth first to a boy, Tuanku Munawir, the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan. Cik Engku Maimunah, his first wife, gave birth to two boys and two girls. The eldest is Tunku Aidah, followed by Tuanku Jaafar (the tenth Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan), Tunku Sheilah and Tunku Abdullah.[12]

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

  1. Tuanku Munawir (son of Tunku Maharun), who reigned 1960–1967
  2. Tuanku Ja'afar (son of Dulcie Campbell), who succeeded his brother in 1967 and reigned till 27 December 2008

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


Name Birth Date Birth Place Death Date Spouse Issue Grandchildren
HH Che Engku Maimunah binti Abdullah (kahwin 1919, telah bercerai)
HH Tunku Aida 27 May 1920 29 May 1937 HH Tunku Ma’amor bin Tunku Usoh HH Tunku Datuk Sri Mizan
HH Tunku Ainunnisa
HH Tunku Ainah
HH Tunku Maztom 3 daughters
HH Tunku Puan Sri Arishah 2 sons and 3 daughters
HRH Tuanku Ja’afar 19 July 1922 27 December 2008 8 August 1942 HRH Tunku Najihah binti Almarhum Tunku Besar Burhanuddin HH Tunku Tan Sri Naquiah HH Tunku Nadzimuddin
YM Tunku Datin Mir'atun Madihah
YM Tunku Nasaifuddin
YM Tunku Nasruan Adil
HH Tunku Dato' Seri Utama Naquiyuddin HH Tunku Mohamed Alauddin
YM Tunku Alia Nadira
HH Tunku Nadia Sahiya
HH Tunku Khairul Zaim
HH Tunku Tan Sri Imran HH Tunku Khairil Imran
HH Tunku Tarrant
HH Tunku Abdul Rahman Aminullah
HH Tunku Puteri Puan Sri Dato' Seri Jawahir HH Tengku Azra Jahan Juzaila
HH Tengku Aslahuddin Ja’afar
HH Tengku A'zran Abdul Jawaad
HH Tunku Dato' Seri Irinah HH Tengku Alam Shah Amiruddin
HH Tengku Aiman Shahirah
HH Tunku Dato Seri Nadzaruddin HH Tunku Muhammad Hazim Shah Raden
HH Tunku Muhammad Mish’al Raden
HH Tunku Ines Najiha Raden
HH Tunku Sheilah 2 May 1924 23 August 1942 HH Tunku Daud bin Tunku Besar Burhanuddin HH Tunku Ivy Mu’hsinah Putri Sian Shaharia binti Sharif Winter
HH Tengku Datuk Munasir HH Tunku Mutalib
HH Tunku Muzaffar
HH Tunku Maisura Adibah
HH Tunku Mu’tasim HH Tunku Mahzuz
HH Tunku Mahir
HH Tunku Masna
HH Tunku Mukhrizah
HH Tunku Roxana Paul Kamil Lafrance
Sarah Melane Lafrance
HH Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah 2 May 1925 19 August 2008 22 April 1946 (cerai 1958) HH Tunku Zahara binti Tunku Zakaria HH Tunku Dato’ Sri Iskandar HH Tunku Idalyn Mazura
HH Tunku Izrina Mazuin
HH Tunku Izora Mulaika
HH Tunku Hajjah Marina Ashraf Mazran Zamani bin Dato’ Zulkifly
Mazlina Zairin binti Dato’ Zulkifly
Mizfarah Zara binti Dato’ Zulkifly
Mazrah Zuraihan binti Dato’ Zulkifly
HH Tunku Dato’ Kamil Ikram HH Tunku Shazwan Kaiyisha
HH Tunku Arina Nakita
HH Tunku Arina Nashita
6 August 1959 (cerai 30 March 1966) HH Che Ho Yuzin binti Abdullah HH Tunku Dato’ Yaacob Khyra HH Tunku Elana Khyra
YM Tunku Leana Khyra
HH Tunku Amaan Khyra
HH Tunku Nadya Khyra
HH Tunku Omaan Khyra
HH Tunku Imaan Khyra
HH Tunku Rmaan Khyra
HH Tunku Yahaya HH Tunku Mikael
HH Tunku Halim HH Tunku Kristina Radin
HH Tunku Adam Radin
30 March 1966 (cerai 20 February 1970) Cik Khadija binti Abdullah HH Tunku Soraya Dakhlah
21 April 1973 (cerai 1991) Che Engku Chesterina binti Abdullah Tiada
10 August 1991 (cerai 1996) Cik Engku Maimunah binti Abdullah Tiada
25 April 1997 HH Puan Sri Che Engku Rozita binti Ahmad Baharuddin HH Tunku Muhammad Shah Tiada
HH Tunku Intan Kursiah Tiada
HH Tuanku Ampuan Maharunnisa binti Tunku Mambang (kahwin March 1921, bercerai 1923)
HRH Tuanku Munawir 29 March 1922 14 April 1967 1 January 1940 HRH Tuanku Ampuan Durah binti Almarhum Tunku Besar Burhanuddin HH Tunku Umpa Munawirah HH Tengku Mu'adzam Sadruddin
YM Tengku Munawir Islahuddin
Tengku Mu'amir Izzuddin
HH 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
HRH Tuanku Muhriz HH Tunku Ali Redhauddin
YAM Tunku Zain 'Abidin
HH Tunku Alif Hussein Saifuddin Al-Amin
HH Tunku Datin Anne Dakhlah Siti Mazeera
Siti Mazlina
Siti Mazlynda
HH Tunku Deborah 2 orang puteri
Almarhumah HH Tunku Datin Deanna YM Tengku Amera Nafisah
YM Tengku Nadia Azrina
YM Tengku Dahira Azirah
HRH Tuanku Kurshiah binti Almarhum Tunku Besar Burhanuddin (kahwin 21 March 1929)
HRH Sultanah Bahiyah]] 24 August 1930 26 August 2003 9 March 1956 HRH Al-Sultan Almu'tasimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Al-Haj Almarhum Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah HH Tan Sri Tunku Puteri Intan Shafinaz Tiada
HH Tunku Hajah Shahariah 8 April 1932 25 October 1956 HH Tunku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail HH Tunku Abu Bakar HH Tunku Kurshiah Aminah Atiah
HH Tunku Abdul Rahman Burhanuddin
HH Tunku Aishah Johara
HH Tunku Zaidah binti Tunku Zakaria (kahwin 1948)
HH Tunku Noraida Zakia 6 December 1950 Tiada maklumat Encik Abdul Rahim bin Abdul Manaf Putri Norashiqin

Hobbies and interestsEdit

Tuanku Abdul Rahman had a keen interest in sports such as cricket, football and tennis. However, his favourite sport was boxing. In fact, when he was young, he loved wearing boxing gloves to box with his sons.

Awards and recognitionsEdit


Malayan honoursEdit

British honoursEdit

Bruneian honoursEdit

Places named after himEdit

Several places were named after him, including:


  1. ^ a b c d Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abdul Rahman, Tuanku". Encyclopædia Britannica. 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. ^ "No. 40960". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1956. p. 4.

External linksEdit

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
Tuanku Muhammad
Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan
3 August 1933 – 1 April 1960
Succeeded by
Tuanku Munawir