In terms of genealogy, the Perak aristocratic families are descendants from the 5 popular individuals in the history of Perak. These individuals are:
- Sultan Muzaffar Shah I
- Tun Saban
- Megat Terawis
- Syed Hussain Jamalullail Al-Faradz
- Daeng Selili
The above five men are the forefathers of the hereditary chiefs of Perak. To those of you who are unfamiliar with the hereditary titles in Perak, this posting of mine will explain briefly about their genealogical links.
ORANG BESAR EMPAT
Orang Kaya Bendahara Seri Maharaja
Officially created by Sultan Muzaffar Shah and bestowed upon Megat Terawis. This title was hereditary for the descendants of Megat Terawis. However, during the reign of Sultan Iskandar Zulkarnain of Perak, the title was converted to a Royal Office – hence the creation of the post Duli Yang Amat Mulia Raja Bendahara Wakil Al-Sultan Wazirul Kabir, Bakal Raja Muda Perak. The post is one step below the Raja Muda.
Following the Perak Constitutional amendmend in 1952, the title Raja Bendahara became extinct after the death of the last holder – Almarhum Raja Abdul Rashid Ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris Rahmatullah Shah. The title is given back to the people by re-creating the title Orang Kaya Bendahara Seri Maharaja.
Orang Kaya Besar Maharaja Diraja
Initially, this was given to the junior branch of the Megat Terawis Clan. However, during the reign of Sultan Iskandar Zulkarnain of Perak, the title was given to the main branch of the Megat Terawis clan as compensation due to the Bendaharaship been converted to a Royal office.
During the reign of Sultan Jaafar Muazzam Shah of Perak, the title Orang Kaya Menteri changed hands from the Syeds to one Ngah Ibrahim Bin Long Jaafar – a mining tycoon in the 19th century. To compensate the Syeds, the Sultan gave the title Orang Kaya Besar to the Syeds – hence alternating with the Megats taking up the office of Orang Kaya Besar.
Over the years, a junior branch of these two families of Megats and Syeds emerged – which led to the 3 branches taking turns one after the other to hold the office of Orang Kaya Besar. Current practice is when the Orang Kaya Besar is a Syed, the Toh Muda (deputy) would be a Megat. Similarly, when the Orang Kaya Besar is a Megat, the Toh Muda would be the third branch. When the third branch holds the office of Orang Kaya Besar, the Toh Muda would be a Syed.
Orang Kaya Temenggong Paduka Raja
This title was initially bestowed upon the descendants of Tun Saban’s son – Tun Undan. Between the late 17th century and early 18th century, the Temenggongship was bestowed upon members of the Megat Terawis clan. When the Bugis Rajas came to aid the Sultan of Perak in battles against the Minangkabau, Siamese and Dutch attacks, the Sultan rewarded the Bugis Rajas with the royal status. As for the head of the Bugis clan in Perak, the title Orang Kaya-Kaya Maharaja Lela Tan Jana Putera Pancung Tak Bertanya was bestowed upon Daeng Selili.
A descendant of Daeng Selili later on played an important role during the war between Perak and Kedah. As a reward to the contribution made by the Bugis clan during the war, the title Orang Kaya Temenggong was given to the main branch of the Bugis clan. The second senior branch will inherit the title Orang Kaya-Kaya Maharaja Lela and a junior member of the clan will be appointed Seri Maharaja Lela (head of the Orang Besar Enam Belas).
Orang Kaya Menteri Paduka Tuan
The title was initially granted exclusively to the descendants of Syed Hussain Jamalullail Al-Faradz. However, during the reign of Sultan Jaafar Muazzam Shah of Perak, the title was given to another family – headed by mining tycoon Ngah Ibrahim Bin Long Jaafar. This Ngah Ibrahim is a descendant of Tun Saban through one of his maternal ancestors. Although Ngah Ibrahim was banished to the Seychelles by the British, the title was passed on to his eldest son – Wan Muhammad Isa. Since then, the title is inherited by the descendants of Wan Muhammad Isa.
ORANG BESAR LAPAN
Orang Kaya-Kaya Maharaja Lela Tan Jana Putera Pancung Tak Bertanya
As mentioned earlier, this title was bestowed upon Daeng Selili – head of the Bugis clan in Perak during the reign of Sultan Muzaffar Shah III. However, following the war between Perak and Kedah, this title was given to the second senior branch of the Bugis clan. In 1875, the then Maharaja Lela was executed by the British for his involvement in the assassination of the late JWW Birch – first British Resident of Perak.
The Maharaja Lela was always the Head of Orang Besar Lapan. He is the only man allowed to carry an unsheathed sword publicly during the presence of the Sultan. He is also empowered to execute anyone without getting prior consent by the Sultan. The title was abolished and a new title was created – the Orang Kaya-Kaya Mahakurnia Indera Diraja.
Orang Kaya-Kaya Laksamana Raja Mahkota
After the title Maharaja Lela was abolished, the Laksamana became the Head of Orang Besar Lapan. This title was firstly bestowed upon Nakhoda Hitam – known as Tok Kuala Bidor. It was said that this Nakhoda Hitam is a Bugis and a brother to Daeng Selili. Therefore, his hereditary right was associated with the special status enjoyed by the Bugis rajas in Perak and most importantly the status of Daeng Selili as personal advisor to the then Sultan of Perak. The title is hereditary within the family of Tok Kuala Bidor right to this very day.
Orang Kaya-Kaya Seri Adika Raja Shahbandar Muda
This title was bestowed upon the descendants of Tun Saban’s son – Tun Kelalang. Over the years, although it is exclusively hereditary within the descendants of Tun Kelalang, the title however was passed on to descendants through the maternal line. That is the reason why we find Meors and Wans holding the office since the mid 19th century. The first Meor holding the title is Meor Abdullah. He is a direct descendant through the male line of Tun Kelalang but since his mother is a Siti (daughter of a Syed), his name has a Meor prefix.
During the British Colonial Period, the title was passed on to individuals from the female line. Some are Meors, and some are Wans and some have no salutory prefix. Generally, the holders of this title is exclusively for the descendants of Tun Kelalang. – be it paternally or maternally.
Orang Kaya-Kaya Panglima Kinta Seri Amar Bangsa Diraja
It was said that the first Panglima Kinta is an offspring of Sultan Mansur Shah of Perak (second Sultan of Perak) with his wife – a noble lady from the house of Maharaja Kinta. Due to its Royal lineage, the holders of this title has the exclusive right to have a ‘bersiram’ ceremony following their installation as Panglima Kinta.
Orang Kaya-Kaya Panglima Bukit Gantang Seri Amar Diraja
This title is hereditary for the descendants of Tun Saban. However, during the reign of Sultan Abdul Malik Mansur Shah, the title was passed on to the son-in-law of the previous Panglima Bukit Gantang – Che Alang Iddin. Although not a direct descendant through the male line of Panglima Bukit Gantang, Che Alang Iddin is also a descendant of Tun Saban – maternally.
Orang Kaya-Kaya Shahbandar Paduka Indera
Initially, the title was given to the descendants of Tun Saban. The earliest known Shahbandar was one Tok Jabut. Following the banishment of Shahbandar Uda Maamor in 1875 to the Seychelles, the title was given to descendants of Sheikh Muhammad Taib – a Minangkabau Muslim Scholar and a fierce warrior. However, the title was not completely passed to a different family. The descendants of Uda Maamor still inheriting the title up to this very day – but to be rotated with the descendants of Sheikh Muhammad Taib.
Orang Kaya-Kaya Seri Agar Diraja
In Perak dialect, he is known as Dato’ Sagor (derived from the word Dato’ Seri Agor). Records show that the family of Seri Agar Diraja are descendants of Acheh warlords who came to invade Perak in the early 17th century. However, 19th century records show that the then holders are connected to the Bugis clan of Perak. In 1875, the then holder of Dato’ Sagor was executed by the British together with Maharaja Lela. The title then was abolished and a new title was created – Orang Kaya-Kaya Setia Bijaya Diraja to replace it.
However, in 1987, following the death of Almarhum Raja Shahriman Ibni Almarhum Raja Abdul Hamid – the last holder of Orang Kaya-Kaya Mahakurnia Indera Diraja, the title of Orang Kaya-Kaya Seri Agar Diraja was revived by Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak and was given to the then Menteri Besar of Perak – Tan Sri Ramli Bin Ngah Talib – a great-grandson of the executed Dato’ Sagor in 1875.
Orang Kaya-Kaya Setia Bijaya Diraja
As mentioned earlier, this title was a replacement title for the Orang Kaya-Kaya Seri Agar Diraja. The title was bestowed upon Jeragan Abdul Shukor. Inner circles of the Jeragan Abdul Shukor clan states that the Jeragan was actually a son of Sultan Yusuf Sharifuddin Muzaffar Shah (Regent of Perak 1876-1886, Sultan of Perak 1886-1887) with a lady from Parit.
Since his appointment as Dato’ Setia, the Jeragan’s clan were treated as members of the royal family. This can be seen by the tombs of the Jeragan’s descendants are situated in the inner area of the Royal Mausoleum at Bukit Chandan.
Orang Kaya-Kaya Mahakurnia Indera Diraja
As mentioned earlier, this was a replacement title by the British for the title Maharaja Lela. The title however became extinct in 1987 following the death of its last holder – Almarhum Raja Shahriman Ibni Almarhum Raja Abdul Hamid. The title now is replaced by the revived title of Orang Kaya-Kaya Seri Agar Diraja.
Orang Kaya-Kaya Imam Paduka Tuan
This is not a hereditary title but usually bestowed upon Rajas or Individuals from the aristocratic families of Perak. The office of Imam Paduka Tuan is the most senior post for religous affairs in the state. In modern day appointments, only state Muftis or former state Muftis were made Imam Paduka Tuan.
MINOR HEREDITARY TITLES
Toh Seri Nara Diraja
Toh Seri Maharaja Lela
Toh Seri Maharaja Dewa
Toh Mekong (pronounced as Mengkong)