Friday, January 29, 2010

Riau-Lingga Kingdom(1824-1911)

Anglo-Dutch Treaty 1824 was the most important historical event, which start the split of Johor Empire to Lingga-Riau in Sumatra, and Johor sultanate(Johor/Singapore/Pahang)in Malay Peninsular. However, the division caused by the dispute of succession was the main cause that British was able to have opportunity to share the power influence with Dutch over Johor Empire.

bf.1818 Part of Johor Empire.
1818 The Sultan of Johor-Riau is expelled from Johor; Riau secedes.
3 Feb 1911 Netherlands colonial government takes over administration.
9 Jan 1913 State extinguished by Netherlands colonial government.

Johor Empire administration

The Johor Sultanate continued the system of administration previously practised in Malacca. The highest authority lay in the hands of the Yang di-Pertuan who was known as the Sultan. The Sultan was assisted by a body known as the Majlis Orang Kaya (Council of Rich Men) which was tasked with advising the Sultan. Among them were the Bendahara, Temenggong, Laksamana, Shahbandar and Seri Bija Diraja.

During the 18th century, the Bendahara lived in Pahang and the Temenggong lived in Teluk Belanga, Singapore. Each one managed the administration of their individual areas based on the level of authority bestowed upon them by the Sultan of Johor.

The Johor Empire is decentralized. It is made of four main fiefs and the Sultan's territory. The fiefs are :

1. Muar and its territories under the Raja Temenggung of Muar;
2. Pahang under the stewardship of the Bendehara;
3. Riau under the control of Yam Tuan Muda and,
4. Mainland Johor and Singapore under the Temenggung.
5. The rest of the Empire belongs to the Sultan.

The Sultan resides in Lingga(so called Sultan Lingga). All the Orang Kayas except Raja Temenggung Muar reports directly to the Sultan ; Raja Temenggung Muar is a sovereign and is recognised by the Sultan.

Abdul Rahman Muazzam Shah was appointed as Sultan of Lingga, Johor Empire in 1812. He was placed on the throne instead of his older brother Tengku Hussein, supported by Bugis. The appointment was a dispute, as there was no consent from Bendahara and royalties ,and without complete of royal regalia. Note he is Sultan of Lingga, of Johor Empire from 1812-1824, but only complied with royal regalia in 1822. After 1824, due to 1824 Anglo-Dutch Treaty, he retained only as Sultan of Lingga-Riau sultanate until he died in 1832. His other states, Pahang and Johor become independent sultanates, both under British influence, Singapore become a British colony.

Dispute on succession(1812-1824)

Tengku Abdul Rahman was ruler only because his older brother, Tengku Hussein or Tengku Long, had been away in Pahang getting married when their father died in 1812. He was appointed by the Yam Tuan Muda of Riau, Raja Jaafar because according to him, in a Malay tradition, a person has to be by the dying sultan's side in order to be considered as the new ruler. However the matter has to be decided by the Bendehara as the "keeper of adat". Predictably, the older brother was not happy with the development.

Raja Jaafar's sister, the queen of the late Sultan, protested vehemently at her brother's actions with these prophetic words, "...Which adat of succession is being followed? Unfair deeds like this will cause the Johor Sultanate be destroyed!!!". And she held on the royal regalia refusing to surrender it.

Bendehara Ali was made aware of the affairs of the succession and decided to act. He prepared his fleet of boats to Riau to "restore the adat". The British upon knowing this dispatched a fleet and setup a blockade to stop the forces of Bendehara Ali from advancing.

With the Temenggung's help, Raffles managed to smuggle Tengku Hussein, then living in exile on one of the Riau Islands, back into Singapore. According a correspondence between Tengku Hussain and his brother, he left for Singapore out of his concern of his son's safety. Unfortunately he was captured by Raffles and forced to make a deal. Their agreement stated that the British would acknowledge Tengku Hussein as the "legitimate ruler" of "Johor", and thus Tengku Hussein and the Temenggung would receive a yearly stipend from the British. In return, Tengku Hussein would allow Raffles to establish a trading post in Singapore. This treaty was ratified on 6 February 1819.

Bendehara Ali was requested by the British to recognize Tengku Hussein as a ruler. However, Bendehara Ali has stated that he has no connection with the events in Singapore , as it is the Temenggung's fief and stated that his loyalty lies with the Sultan of Johor in Lingga.

1824 Anglo-Dutch Treaty

The Dutch were extremely displeased with Raffles' action. Tensions between the Dutch and British over Singapore persisted until 1824, when they signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty. Under the terms of that treaty, the Dutch officially withdrew their opposition to the British presence in Singapore. Many historians contend that the treaty divided the spheres of influence between the Dutch and the English; Sultanate of Johor into modern Johor and the state of Riau-Lingga which exists de jure after the ouster of the last Sultan of Johor. However this treaty is signed secretly without the knowledge of the local nobility including the Sultan and thus its legitimacy is called into question.

The British successfully sidelined Dutch political influence by proclaiming Sultan Hussein as the Sultan of Johor and Singapore to acquire legal recognition in their sphere of influence in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. The legitimacy of Sultan Hussein's proclamation as the Sultan of Johor and Singapore, was by all accounts not recognised by the Malay rulers and his title only served as a nominal title. Temenggong Abdul Rahman's position, on the other hand, was strengthened as the signing of the treaties detached him the influence of Raja Ja'afar. Meanwhile, Sultan Abdul Rahman was installed as the Sultan of Lingga in November 1822, complete with the royal regalia. Sultan Abdul Rahman, who had devoted himself to religion, became contented with his political sphere of influence in Lingga, where his family continued to maintain his household under the administrative direction of Raja Ja'afar who ruled under the auspices of the Dutch.

The Interested Parties

The actors on this stage are three parties; the Colonial powers of British and the Dutch; the nobles who made agreement with the Dutch namely Raja Jaafar, Yam Tuan Muda of Riau and Temenggung Abdul Rahman, of Johore and Singapore ; the palace namely the Sultan and Bendahara who is not aware of any treaty signed without their knowledge. Because the treaties are not ratified by the Sultan or the Bendahara, the Malays do not pay heed to any action of the Colonial powers.

The Yam Tuan Muda has committed treachery by "selling" the sovereignty of Johore, however it does not hold as the Sultan or the Bendahara is not a party to the treaty. It is wrong to pass judgements on the Sultan as not obeying the 1830 treaty. The treaty was signed in secret and details were only known in 1855. In actuality, the Sultan is excersizing his sovereign right in demanding loyalty from fiefdoms in the Johor Empire. As for the Temenggung, he is strengthening his position and in preparation of any changes to fate of the Sultanate, preparing to have friendship with Great Britain and sharing the spoils with Britain at the demise of the Sultanate. This is especially true for the son of Temenggung Ibrahim, the ambitious Temenggung (and later Sultan) Abu Bakar who plans to be Sultan.

List of Sultans - Lingga-Riau Sultanate

1. Sultan Abdul Rahman Muazzam Shah (1818–1832)Note: 1812 or 1818 or 1822?
2. Sultan Muhammad II Muazzam Shah (1832–1835)
3. Sultan Mahmud IV Muzaffar Shah (1835–1857)
4. Sultan Sulaiman II Badrul Alam Shah (1857–1883)
5. Sultan Abdul Rahman II Muazzam Shah (1885–1911) -

Sultan Muhammad Shah (reigning from 1832-1841? or 1835)

Raja Jaffar, Yam Tuan Muda of Riau died and the Sultan is in no hurry to appoint a successor. The Sultan saw the damage that was done to the Palace in his father's reign and decided to reemphasis and restore adat as a rule governing personal behavior and the politics. He summoned Bendahara Ali to Lingga. At Lingga, an adat-steeped function was held. The Bendahara conducted ceremonies (as per adat) aimed at reeducating the nobility and the Sultan about their respective duties and responsibilities. Islam and politics were discussed. It was attended by all the nobles from across the Empire hence, proving that 'Sultan' of Singapore is not recognized by the Malays. The ceremonies also include installation of Tengku Mahmud (later ruling as Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar) as a Crown Prince and Tun Mutahir as Bendehara-in-waiting.

In 1841, Bendahara Ali appoint Temenggung Ibrahim to replace his father who died in 1825. The long interval is due to displeasure of the Bendahara over the affairs of Singapore. Conditions were imposed during the appointment includes paying a visit of fealty to the ruling Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar in Lingga which brings pleasure to his majesty.

Sultan Mahmud IV Muzaffar Shah (1835–1857)

'Sultan Hussein' of Singapore has died in 1835 and his prince Tengku Ali wished for the legitimacy granted to Temenggung Ibrahim. The British forwarded the request in 1841 to the Bendahara. Bendahara Ali refused to take part in this treachery. (Note the 1824 treaty, where British has no jurisdiction on affairs of Riau-Lingga sultanate, the action of Tengku Ali will annoy Britain).

After waiting since 1835 for the 'appointment' as a Sultan, in 1852 Tengku Ali decided to 'return Johor' to the Johor Empire by paying homage to Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar in Lingga. For three years Johor Empire was one again except Singapore.

Worried by the current state of affairs, the British called Tengku Ali back to Singapore on the threat of cancelling his pension. In Singapore, he is frequently visited by Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar and their relations are cordial.

1855 Treaty

The worried British then forced the 1855 treaty between Temenggung Ibrahim and Tengku Ali. In exchange for recognition as a 'Sultan', Tengku Ali agrees to 'give up all of Johor'. The treaty merely 'confirms' the Temenggung's hold on his fief. This treaty intends to solidify the position of Temenggung Ibrahim, their key ally.

Bendahara Ali was asked by the Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar about the 1855 treaty. In his reply, the Bendahara reiterated about the Temenggung is supposed to swear fealty to his majesty and on the behavior of Tengku Ali, the Bendehara claimed ignorace. He also reiterated that he is not a party to any discussion with the British or the Dutch.

1857- Sultan Mahmud IV Muzaffar Shah was deposed in Singapore

The Dutch is also very worried. It seems that the Sultan is acting on his own and would not listen to any of the Dutch-influenced Yam Tuan Muda of Riau and the Bugis nobility. It erupted into a open dispute between Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar and the Bugis nobility over the appointment of new Yam Tuan Muda of Riau. The Bugis preferred candidate is also the Dutch choice. The Sultan resents having another foreign-backed Yam Tuan Muda of Riau. It resulted in a deadlock that the Sultan set sail to Singapore for a cool off. It is during the Singapore trip that the last Sultan of the mighty Johore Empire was deposed by the Bugis nobility in 1857.

Sultan Sulaiman II Badrul Alam Shah (1857–1883): End of Johor Empire

After the ouster of the former Sultan of Johor, the Bugis nobles elected the new Sultan, Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Shah, the Sultan of the "new" Riau-Lingga Kingdom built on the ashes of the Johore Empire. The Sultan signed an agreement with the Dutch. In the agreement he agreed to acknowledge the overlordship of the Dutch government among others. At a stroke of a pen, he broke up the Johor Empire into 2 big parts and has given up the sovereignty of his part of territory to the Dutch. This also marked the end of the Malacca and later Johor sultanate. This division remains until today as the Malaysia-Indonesia border.

1861 Johor and Pahang - The split of the Empire

As the Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar was ousted and the new Sultan declared territory separate from the former Johor Empire, it was akin to a sheep slaughtered with Sultan and Riau-Lingga represented by the head. The Bendahara is now the virtual head of remnants of the Empire as per the prevailing adat. Temenggung Ibrahim of Johore understood this situation and quickly signed a treaty with Bendahara Tun Mutahir of Pahang in 1861 . The treaty recognizes the territories of Johor (mainland), the Temenggung and his descendent's right to rule it, mutual protection and mutual recognitions of Pahang and Johor. With the signing of this treaty, the remnants of the Empire became 2 independent states, Johor and Pahang.

Sultan Abdul Rahman II Muazzam Shah - the last sultan

Sultan Abdul Rahman II Muazzam Shah moved the capital from Daik, Pulau Lingga to Pulau Penyengat in Riau. Sultan Abdul Rahman II Muazzam Shah, escaped to Singapore and was dethroned by Dutch colonist in 1911. He passed away at Teluk Belanga, Singapura on 28 December 1930.

The approaching war in Asia, and the apparent reluctance of the Netherlands East Indies government to resist the Japanese threat, prompted the British to plan for the establishment of a buffer state in Riau. They opened discussions with the Trengganu based Tengku Omar, the Tengku Besar, with a view to his own restoration or that of one of his sons. However, when actual war ensued and their new allies, the Dutch, actively resisted Japanese attacks, the British Governor of the Straits shelved these plans.

At the conclusion of the Second World War and the emergence of resistance to Dutch rule in 1945, several of the exiled groups in Singapore planned for and supported a new plan for a restoration. One of the most prominent of these groups, the Djawatan Koewasa Pengoeroes Rakjat Riau (DKPRR), included the son of the late Tengku Besar. Several exiled princes were prominent members of the organisation and Tengku Ibrahim, Tengku Omar's son, served as the DKPRR candidate for sultan. They were financed by wealthy Riau expatriates and Singapore Chinese businessmen with trading interests in the archipelago, all hoping to profit from mining and trading concessions from any new government that emerged. Alas, the ultimate establishment of control over the region by the Indonesian Republic and the final withdrawal of the Dutch, put paid to these designs.

Since the late 1930's, the position of head of the house has been contested. Rival branches of the family who descend from Tengku Omar's elder half-brother Osman, claim the position for themselves. However, their rights to it remain hotly disputed. Largely, this is because Sultan 'Abdu'l Rahman had specifically ruled out both Tengku Osman and his full-brother Tengku Ismail in 1908. The reasons for his exclusion hinged on a combination of several factors. Included amongst them were the status of their mother, their uncompromising ultra-religious tendencies and opposition by the ruling Dutch authorities. The dispute over the correct interpretation of adat laws and the respective rights and obligations between the Malay and Bugis families, present a further obstacle to resolution. Consequently, feel unable to present any particular individual as the undisputed head of the house at present time.

List of Sultans
1818 - 9 Aug 1832 Sultan Abdul Rahman Muadzam Syah
ibni al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud (b. 1780 - d. 1832)
Riayat Syah
9 Aug 1832 - 1835 Sultan Muhammad Syah ibni
al-Marhum Sultan Abdul Rahman (b. 1803 - d. 1841)
Muadzam Syah
(continues as regent for the following to 20 Jul 1841)
1835 - 7 Oct 1857 Sultan Mahmud Mudzafar Syah ibni (b. 1823 - d. 1864)
al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Syah
7 Oct 1857 - 17 Sep 1883 Sultan Sulaiman Badarul Alam Syah (d. 1883)
ibni al-Marhum Sultan Abdul
Rahman Muadzam Syah
13 Oct 1883 - 3 Feb 1911 Sultan Abdul Rahman Muadzam Syah
bin Muhammad Yusuf (b. 1851 - d. 1930)

Tuhfat al-Nafis : sejarah Riau Lingga dan daerah takluknya, 1699-1864, by Raja Ali Haji

Tuhfat al-Nafis is a work of Malay literature written by Raja Ali Haji in Jawi in 1885. It records and chronicles events, especially those of the 19th century, that occurred in several Malay states. Some of the events recorded in the work are the founding of the state of Terengganu and the murder of Sultan Mahmud Shah II of Johor. Tuhfat al-Nafis means "the precious gift" in Arabic language.


There seem to be only three copies of the Tuhfat al-Najis still extant —one of them presents a shorter version of the Tuhfat, and the other twopresent a longer text.

1. The MS(manuscript)of the shorter text is from the KoninklijkInstituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, (KITLV), a copy madeat Penyengat in 1896, for the Dutch Resident of Riau, A. L. van Hasselt.A note in the front of the MS. signed by van Hasselt, says that it wasa true copy of a MS. in the archives of the Yangdipertuan Muda ofRiau, and was presented to him to mark his retirement as Resident.
It was catalogued by Ph. S. van Ronkel5 under the title Sjadjarash Radja2 Riouw. In 1937 van der Linden mentioned this text in his De Europeaan in de Maleische Literatuur,0 where he outlines the contents of the MS. together with Winstedt's 1932 text of the Tuhfat. He makes
no differentiation between these texts,7 and does not explain the relationshipbetween them. Apart from the notes of van Ronkel and van der Linden, there seem to be no other references to this MS.
2. A longer text of the Tuhfat known as the Maxwell 2 MS., is pre: served in the library of the Royal Asiatic Society in London.8 Thisis a copy made for Sir William Maxwell, then British Resident of Selangor, in.March 1890. This MS. was mentioned-recently by Amin Sweeney, when he drew attention to the pencilled note on the fly-leaf, which reads:

Tuhfat al-Nafis. Commenced by Raja Haji Ahamad (otherwise called Ungku Haji Tua) son of Raja Haji, who died at Riau at the age of 103 years — It was carried on and completed by his
son Raja Haji Ali. He died at the age of 78:

At the end of this MS., following the text of the Tuhfat proper, is a page of later Riau history. This is exclusive to the Maxwell 2 MS., and is dated 1306 A.H. (1888-89 A.D.), which is one year before Maxwell's text was copied. This suggests as a possible stemma:

X Tuhjat text
i • .
X Tuhjat text with added history page .
X Maxwell 2.

If this is so, the Maxwell 2 MS. is a copy of a copy.

3. The third copy of the Tuhjat is not strictly speaking a MS. at all, but a printed Jawi text, and as such is subject to printing, errors in additionto the normal scribal mistakes. This is Sir Richard Winstedt's text,10 which he says is based on a 1923 text belonging to' Tengku Fatimah, daughter of the late-nineteenth century ruler of Johore, Sultan Abu Bakar. Again, Winstedt's text is a copy of a copy, as Tengku Fatimah's text was copied from "an older MS.''.11 As this is the only published text of the Tuhjat, it is the only one which is generally known. When commentators refer to the Tuhjat al-Najis, they refer to
this text (or its romanized counterpart).

(extract from THE TUHFAT AL-NAFIS: STRUCTURE AND SOURCES(1971), by V. Matheson, In: Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 127 (1971), no: 3, Leiden, 375-392, downloaded from with thanks)

Related articles:

1. Lingga, the Bendahara Dynasty,
2. Raja Ahmad Al Linggi, The blogger claimed descendant of royalties of the kingdom, contained story of one of the royalties in exile and hiding in Kuala Lipis, Pahang . This blog is in Malay language)
3. RM Khalid, blogger claimed descendant of royalties, contained some historical pictures of his ancestors)
4. THE TUHFAT AL-NAFIS: STRUCTURE AND SOURCES(1971), by V. Matheson, In: Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 127 (1971), no: 3, Leiden, 375-392, downloaded from
5. Madmud, Sultan of Riao & Lingga(1823-1864), by V Mathson, download from, with thanks.

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