On Friday 24th of February, I attended a Seminar conducted by the History Department, University of Malaya (UM) on a topic which interests me in most of my research works – the genealogy of Perak rajas. The presentation was given by one Dr Mardiana Nordin of UM the content of the presentation is a discussion on the MS 3 kept at the National Library (PNM) which was acquired in 1982.
The MS 3 was written in Jawi characters in a log-book (possibly late 19th century or early 20th century log-books) similar to the conditions of MSS in the Maxwell collections kept at the Royal Asitic Society Library in London. Although the MS was given a title – Salasilah Raja-Raja Perak and began with a phrase saying that the MS is a genealogy of the Perak Rajas which includes the descendants of the Syeds, Sitis, Megats and Meors. The introductory paragaraph too states that the MS also narates the origins of Perak Temenggongs.
However, according to Dr Mardiana’s thorough research on the MS, out of the 7-page long manuscript, the topic of the Syed and Megat lineage were only mentioned at the very last page. And to her surprise, the length discussion for this particular topic only takes about 30% of that particular page. Even worse, there’s no mention whatsoever about the lineage of Perak Temenggongs. This state of irrelevance between the MS title and its contents suggests that the title may have been given at a later date and perhaps given by a different individual.
In terms of overall content, there are confusions, anachronistic errors and similarities to other texts such as Sejarah Melayu, Merong Maha Wangsa and Misa Melayu. I won’t be discussing about the general aspects of the MS in this posting. But, I would like to share what I have commented during the Q&A session at the seminar and what I think about the MS (…idea just sparked last night!).
SULTAN AHMAD TAJUDDIN – The first Sultan of Perak
In this MS 3, it says that the first Sultan of Perak was Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Shah. Later, he was replaced by one Raja Malik who reigned as Sultan Mansur Shah. My comment on this was, according to JWW Birch’s diary, during his interview with Perak rajas in 1870s, most rajas and chiefs gave a common version of the list of Perak Sultans whereby the first Raja to be installed as Sultan was Raja Muzaffar who reigned as Sultan Muzaffar Shah I. However, when the British interviewed Raja Yusuf – eldest son of Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah I (Marhum Atiqullah Durian Sebatang) and a contender for the Perak throne in 1871, this Raja Yusuf said that the first Sultan of Perak was one Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin.
This suggests that the MS 3 may have been a version narrated by Raja Yusuf or persons who acquired the knowledge from the same source as Raja Yusuf. If we refer to the genealogical charts, Raja Yusuf was indeed a descendant of Sultan Iskandar Zulkarnain Shah. He was also a descendant of the Hadhrami Syeds through Sultan Iskandar Zulkarnain Shah’s son-in-law. During Raja Yusuf’s time as Regent and later Sultan, there were many relatives of his living in Chenderiang, Perak – mostly Syeds and Meors.
Having said that, it is possible for the author of this MS to make a mistake by confusing the first Sultan of Perak (since 1528) and the first Sultan of Perak treated as the forefather of present-day dynasty (Sultan Ahmaddin Shah, 18th Sultan of Perak). The genealogical charts have shown that the son of Sultan Muzaffar Shah I succeded to the Perak throne as the second Sultan of Perak with the title Sultan Mansur Shah (Marhum Kota Lama).
On the other hand, the eighteenth Sultan of Perak, Sultan Ahmaddin Shah was mentioned in MS Maxwell 24 reigned as Sultan of Perak with the title Sultan Ahmad Tajul Alam Shah Ad-Din. He was later succeeded by his son – Raja Abdul Malik who reigned as Sultan Abdul Malik Mansur Shah (in Maxwell 24, the MS states that this Sultan ruled as Sultan Mansur Shah).
I personally feel that the author of MS 3 was trying to say that the forefather or the common ancestor of present-day Sultans of Perak was Sultan Ahmad Tajul Alam Shah Ad-Din who is also known as Sultan Ahmaddin Shah. But, he had intentionally or non-intentionally used the phrase ‘first Sultan of Perak’ to indicate the status of this Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin.
Sultan Mansur, second Sultan of Perak and son of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin fought a war against Tun Saban. The Sultan of Johor who was also an uncle of Sultan Mansur sent troops to aid him in this war against Tun Saban.
As I have mentioned earlier, the author may have confused the stories between early Perak history with characters of similar names in recent history. In this case, the Sultan Mansur who fought against Tun Saban was not Sultan Abdul Malik Mansur Shah whom the author treated as the 2nd Sultan of Perak but the Sultan Mansur here is actually THE second Sultan of Perak – son of Sultan Muzaffar Shah I. The actual Sultan Mansur Shah of Perak was indeed a nephew of the Sultan of Johor – Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah as the latter was the former’s younger brother. On the contrary, Sultan Abdul Malik Mansur Shah has no relations what so ever with the Sultan of Johor during that time (early 1800s).
Interestingly, this version of Perak Civil War which says that the war against Tun Saban was extended to the reigning years of Sultan Mansur Shah. We know that the official version of Perak history states that the Perak Civil War was between Sultan Muzaffar Shah and Tun Saban. However, this text and a research by Dr Supriyatno (presented during the Tun Saban Seminar by UPSI at Gerik, Perak – March 2011) states that the war against Tun Saban extended to the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah. In addition, during my research on my family’s genealogy, MS 40333(2) of SOAS mentioned that Tun Saban fought a war against Marhum Kota Lama (of which we identify as Sultan Mansur Shah).
Although all earlier Perak historians discard MS3 as a historical source. But this particular part about the Perak Civil War against Tun Saban suggests that there is a reliable alternative version of Perak history which I think worth to be explored by future historians. Whether the Perak Civil War ended during the reign of Sultan Muzaffar Shah or the war in actual fact was longer – extended until the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah.
My personal opinion on this: there is some possible truth in it. We know the first 2 Sultans of Perak were Muzaffar and Mansur. We also know from official history, Sultan Mansur went missing while performing the Jumaat Prayers at Kota Lama Mosque. Some historians suggest that Mansur was captured by Acheh as during those years, Perak was attacked for the first time by Acheh. The new Sultan replacing Sultan Mansur was appointed by Acheh and this new Sultan is known in history by the reigning name – Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Shah!
Assuming that both Sultans were involved in the war against Tun Saban. Perhaps the author of this MS considers the 3rd Sultan of Perak is the actual first Sultan of Perak as the 1st and 2nd Sultans from Melaka was against the local rulers led by Tun Saban. Perhaps during the war, Muzaffar and Mansur requested the help from their blood brothers from Johor whereas Tun Saban requested some help from Acheh. Perhaps the local chiefs prefer to be ruled by an Acheh ruler as opposed to a Melakan ruler. And, historical facts have shown that since the 1530s, Johor and Acheh were at war! Perhaps the Perak Crisis became an opportunity for both superpowers to show-off their might.
If we analyse further, there may be some truth behind this hypothesis. Assuming Johor did send military re-inforcements to aid Sultan Muzaffar and Sultan Mansur, Tun Saban may have requested for help from Acheh. Or, perhaps Acheh already realised the presence of Johor army in the vicinity of Acheh shores and voluntarily aided Tun Saban by attacking the Johor army from the rear. If this is true, maybe after Raja Mansur and the Johor forces captured Perak from Tun Saban, Acheh forces came to liberate Perak and captured Sultan Mansur. This tallies with the version saying that Sultan Mansur was captured by Acheh forces.
Upon capturing Sultan Mansur, Tun Saban’s proxy was made Ruler / Regent of the state. This tallies with the Tun Saban chronicles saying that one Tun Pasak Jalak became Raja Sehari (Ruler for One Day) after the capture of Sultan Mansur. According to Syed Jamalullail of Perak’s genealogist, one Syed Hassan (a descendant of Syed Hussain Al-Faradz) became temporary ruler of Perak during the absence of the Sultan after the Acheh invasion.
Meanwhile in Acheh, the eldest son of Sultan Mansur of Perak was made son-in-law to the Sultan Acheh. Subsequently, this Perak Prince ascended the Achenese throne as Sultan Alauddin Mansur Shah. At about this time, the new Sultan of Acheh appointed his younger brother as Sultan of Perak with the reigning title Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Shah.
All in all, I think in general the MS3 is full of errors but to discard it completely is not a good idea as there are some points in the MS worth considering and these points may become a hint or a door-opener for further research into the history of the early Sultans of Perak.