Oh, kerabat Raja Perak. Balik Kuala la Raya nanti? By the way, kenal tak…

We get that a lot, especially after introductions revealing our first names. Not all Perak Rajas live in Kuala. on my dad’s side, most of them are Taiping-based. Another remark i get from some people is where I was in line to the throne of Perak. It is a laughable notion, and my answer was along the lines of the freak accident you saw in the film, King Ralph.

If you look at the Perak royal family genealogy, there was no male heir apparent after the death of the ninth sultan in 1635 – thus, the descendants of the Malaccan sultanate in Perak ended. With the blessings of the Raja of Acheh, a Johor prince was made the tenth sultan, Sultan Muzaffar Shah II in 1636. Due to the unique heir system adopted by Perak, a prince doesn’t have to be the son of a sultan to be made one. For example, if you look at the recent Perak sultans ruling in the 20th century, the son of a Raja Bendahara or Raja Kechil Tengah (in the case of my great-great-great grandfather, Sultan Jaafar Muazzam Shah) can be installed as sultan.

Backtrack to the late 18th century, there was a conflict amongst the Perak Rajas in the years subsequent to the death of the sixteenth sultan of Perak, HRH Sultan Mahmud Shah, who had a pivotal role in the installation of Raja Lumu as the first sultan of Selangor. After the death of HRH Sultan Ahmaddin Shah, the eighteenth sultan of Perak, Sultan Mahmud’s grandson, Raja Bendahara Mahmud ibni Raja Muda Ibrahim, who was in line to the throne, refused to recognise the succession of Raja Malik, the son of the deceased sultan. This refusal effectively split Perak into two, with Hulu Perak being his stronghold. The conflict ended after Raja Bendahara Mahmud’s demise, but no descendant of Sultan Mahmud was ever appointed as sultan since. Further descendants of Sultan Mahmud would later on hold positions of pembesar daerah or penghulu, as it was common to have members of the royal family hold office in the running of smaller enclaves. One such pembesar daerah that was a descendant of Sultan Mahmud was my maternal great-grandfather, Raja Mahadi ibni Almarhum Raja Hussain, on my late mom’s side, during the reign of HRH Sultan Idris Murshidul Azzam Shah in the late 19th century. My maternal grandfather, Raja Sulaiman, was penghulu of Kampung Raja (otherwise known as Kampung Banggol Pasir) near Changkat Jering in Taiping.

[Like this convoluted entry so far?]

The point is, the Perak royal family is immensely large. If you take the descendants of Sultan Mahmud Shah, which is my late mom’s side of the family, the number is huge enough. And not forgetting my dad’s side of the family. And how many sultans have Perak had? Thirty four, each with its descendants. So, the chances of me being it (a very unlikely yet interesting idea, nonetheless)? You do the maths.

1. The Office of DYMM Sultan of Perak official website.
2. Raja Azaham Raja Adnan. “KETURUNAN RAJA MAHADI”. In: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=48591273957
3. Sembangkuala, eds. Raja Chulan, Raja Yusuf Izzudin and Raja Shahriman.