Monday, January 11, 2010


1759 Negeri Perlis Indera Kayangan established (subject
to Kedah to 1821).
12 Sep 1821 - 16 Jul 1909 Perlis under Thai sovereignty.
16 Jul 1909 British protectorate (an unfederated Malay state).
8 Dec 1941 - 20 Aug 1943 Occupied by Japan (Malay Federation).
20 Aug 1943 - 8 Sep 1945 Annexed by Thailand.
1 Apr 1946 Joins Malay Union
31-8-1957 State of independent Malaya
16 Sep 1963 State of Malaysia

Map of Perlis

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Perlis (Jawi ﭬﺮليس) [1], is the smallest state in Malaysia. It lies at the northern part of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and has Satun and Songkhla Provinces of Thailand on its northern border. Perlis was called Palit (Thai: ปะลิส) by the Siamese when it was under their influence.

Perlis Indera Kayangan has a population of 210,000. The ethnic composition for the year 2000 in Perlis was: Malay (174,805 or 79.74%), Chinese (21,058 or 9.6%), Indian (2,658 or 1.21%) and others (20,690 or 9.45%).

The capital of Perlis is Kangar and the Royal capital is Arau. Another important town is Padang Besar, at the Malaysian-Thailand border. The main port and ferry terminal is at the small village of Kuala Perlis, linking mostly to Langkawi Island. Perlis has a famous snake farm and research centre at Sungai Batu Pahat and Gua Kelam and Perlis State Park are tourist attractions. Compared to other states of Malaysia, Perlis has bucolic charm, peace and simplicity.

Historical Perlis

To understand the history of Perlis, you need to understand the history of Kedah, as Perlis was part of Kedah prior to 1842. Kedah not only received Indian influence, Acheh influence and even Arab influence. For Perlis, the Arab influence is more significant.

Kedah and Arab influence
Perlis was originally part of Kedah, although it occasionally came under rule by Siam or Aceh. After the Siamese conquered Kedah in 1821, the British felt their interests in Perak to be threatened. This resulted in the 1826 Burney and Low Treaties formalising relations between the two Malay states and Siam, their nominal overlord. In the Burney Treaty, the exiled Kedah sultan Ahmad Tajuddin was not restored to his throne. Sultan Ahmad and his armed supporters then fought unsuccessfully for his restoration over twelve years (1830-1842).

In 1842, the Sultan finally agreed to accept Siamese terms, and was restored to his throne of Kedah. However, Siam separated Perlis into a separate principality directly vassal to Bangkok. Syed Hussain Jamalulail, the paternal grandson of a Hadhrami Arab immigrant and maternal grandson of the Sultan of Kedah, became the first Raja of Perlis.[2] His descendants still rule Perlis, but as rajas, instead of as sultans.

As with Kedah, the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 forced Siam to relinquish its southern Malay vassal states to Great Britain. The British installed a Resident in the Perlis Royal capital of Arau. Perlis was returned to Siam by the Japanese in World War II as a reward for Siam's alliance with Japan, but this brief annexation ended with the Japanese surrender. After World War II, Perlis returned to British rule until it became part of the Malayan Union, then Federation of Malaya in 1957 and lastly Federation of Malaysia in 1963.

Arab Influence in Perlis
In the Malay states, the most significant Arab political influence, which is vis even to the present day, was in Kedah. Arabs' political involvement in the state ma~ traced back to the early eighteenth century, when the families of al-lamalullaiJ, Shahbuddin and al-Aidid began to settle in the State. Politically, the most influentia these families was the family of al-lamalullail. The earliest member ofthe family sai have settled in the state was Sayyid Ahmad bin Sayyid Hussain lamalullail who cam Kedah from Hadhramaut in 1735AD. His influence in the state was fur widened following his marriage to Sharifah Aminah ai-Qadri of the Arab al-Q family. The family's most significant political role in the state, however, was playe( Sayyid Ahmad's son, Sayyid Harun lamalullail, an influential figure in the Kedah who was awarded the district of Arau in 1797 AD.

The political role played by Arabs in Kedah, however, was intensified when the state was invaded by the Siamese. During the twenty one years (1821-1842) of Siamese occupation, the Arabs rallied behind the Sultan and were actively involved in the struggle to free the state from the invaders. In the struggle against the Siamese the Arabs also played a significant role in the resurgence of religious militancy with its call for Islamic unity following the conquest. This resurgence led to the efforts by Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Halim Shah II and other Kedah princes to regain possession of the state and took on the character of a jihad (holy war) against a power which was not only non-Malay but kafir (infidel) in nature. For nearly two decades, Kedah princes and the Arab leaders joined hands in their resistance against the Siamese which attracted the attention of Malays everywhere. Arab merchants in the Straits Settlements and even some Europeans lent covert support, and it was probably about this time that the Penang-based Red Flag society was formed as a rallying point for Islamic opposition.

In 1824AD, a military campaign was launched against the Siamese, headed by Sayyid Zainal Abidin, Sultan Ahmad's half-Arab nephew, popularly known as Tunku Kudin, who managed to recapture Kuala Kedah, though it was retaken by the Siamese, reSUlting in his own death.102 The defeat did not deter the Kedah royal family and another attack was planned assisted by an Arab, Shaykh Abdul Samad who had just returned from Makkah. In an unsuccessful offensive launched in 1828AD Shaykh Abdul Samad was killed. Apart from being actively involved in launching attacks against the Siamese, Arabs also played a prominent role in the foreign affairs of Kedah during the occupation. One of the Sultan of Kedah's trusted Arab emissaries was Shaykh Abdul Kadir Mufti bin Shaykh Abdul Jalil al-Mahdani who fled with the Sultan following the invasion. He was sent by the Sultan to Bengal to demand money owed by the East India Company for the lease of Penang.

In addition to supporting the Kedah royal family in its military struggle against the Siamese, the Arabs were also actively involved in an effort to regain Kedah's sovereignty through diplomatic means. Kedah finally regained its independence not through war, but through negotiation, which was actively conducted among others by Sayyid Hussain Jamalullail. The loyalty of the Jamalullail to the Sultan and their contribution to the state's politics was rewarded when in 1843, with the approval of the Siamese, Sayyid Hussain Jamalullail, whose father, Sayyid Harun Jamalullail had earlier been appointed Penghulu of Arau, was made Sultan of a newly created state, Perlis.

The family of Jamalullail was the only Arab family to rule a Malay state, and is the ruling family of Perlis to the present day.

Through a long history of influence, the Arabs in Kedah were also accorded high status, equal to that of the royal family. Marriages between Arabs and the Kedah royal house were common and the offspring of these marriages were recognised as belonging to the royal family, even though some of them still retained the title Sayyidto symbolise their Arab origin. This relationship with the palace also made the Arabs a prominent elite group in Kedah. The exceptionally high status they enjoyed put them in the category of the Malay ruling class, thus exempting them from the corvee system which was an obligation upon a commoner. When the police force was introduced in Kedah following the British intervention, the Arabs were not drawn to the service since becoming "the government's dog" was considered disgraceful and did not accord with their prestige. This special status attained by the Arabs was further recognized when in 1932, in order to strengthen the identity of the elite class in the state, a ruling was issued whereby the royal family were forbidden to marry anyone outside their circle without a written consent from the Sultan or his deputy with the exception of marriage with the families of the Arabs.


20 May 1834 - 21 Nov 1873 Syed Husain ibni al-Marhum Syed
Harun Jamalullail (b. 1805 - d. 1873)
21 Nov 1873 - 17 Feb 1897 Syed Ahmad ibni al-Marhum Syed
Husain Jamalullail (b. 1825 - d. 1897)
17 Feb 1897 - 30 Dec 1904 Syed Safi ibni al-Marhum Syed
Alawi Jamalullail (b. 1862 - d. 1905)
30 Dec 1904 - 1 Feb 1943 Syed Alawi ibni al-Marhum Syed
Safi Jamalullail (b. 1881 - d. 1943)
2 Feb 1943 - 20 Aug 1943 Syed Hamzah ibni al-Marhum
Syed Safi Jamalullail (1st time) (b. 1895 - d. 1958)
8 Sep 1945 - 17 Sep 1945 Syed Hamzah ibni al-Marhum
Syed Safi Jamalullail (2nd time) (s.a.)
17 Sep 1945 - 16 Apr 2000 Syed Harun Putra ibni al-Marhum
Syed Hasan Jamalullail (b. 1920 - d. 2000)
1 Sep 1960 - 20 Aug 1965 Tengku Sulaiman -Regent (b. 1932)
17 Apr 2000 - Syed Sirajuddin ibni al-Marhum
Syed Putra Jamalullail (b. 1943)
13 Dec 2001 - 12 Dec 2006 Syed Faizuddin Putra -Regent (b. 1967)

¹Full style of the ruler: Raja dan Yang di-Pertuan Negara Perlis Indra Kayangan ("Raja and Head of the State of Perlis").

British Advisers
1909 - 1910 Meadows Frost (1st time)(acting) (b. 1875 - d. 1954)
1910 Cavendish (acting)
1910 - 1911 Meadows Frost (2nd time)(acting) (s.a.)
1911 J.G. Richey
1911 - 1913 H.C. Eckhardt (1st time)
1913 - 1914 G.M. Laidlaw (acting)
1914 - 1920 H.C. Eckhardt (2nd time)
1920 - 1922 E.W.N. Wyatt (acting)
1922 - 1923 Thomas Watts Clayton (b. 1877 - d. 19..)
1923 - 1925 John Whitehouse Ward Hughes (b. 1883 - d. 19..)
1925 - 1928 P.S. Williams
1928 - 1930 L.A. Allen
Dec 1930 - 1932 Mortimer Cecil Hay (b. 1891 - d. ....)
1932 - 1933 M.B. Shelley
1933 - 1935 Oswald Eric Venables (b. 1891 - d. 1960)
1935 - 1937 Charles Roberts Howitt (b. 1894 - d. 1969)
1937 - 1939 Christopher William Dawson (b. 1896 - d. 1983)
1939 - 1941 Edward Victor Grace Day (1st time) (b. 1896 - d. 1968)

Japanese Governors
1941 - 1942 Ohyama Kikancho
1942 - 20 Aug 1943 Osagawa

Thai Officer
20 Aug 1943 - 8 Sep 1945 Charn Na Song Khram

British Resident Commissioners
1945 - 1946 D. Burr
1 Apr 1946 - 26 May 1946 Edward Victor Grace Day (2nd time) (s.a.)
1947 - 1948 A. Glencross (1st time)(acting)
1948 - 19.. Richard John Froude Curtis (b. 1897 - d. 19..)
1950 - 1951 Maurice John Hayward (b. 1906)
1951 A. Glencross (2nd time)(acting)
1951 - 1955 Frank Marshall Smith (b. 1912)

British Advisers
1956? W. Foulsham
1957? J. Hamer

Chief ministers (title Menteri Besar)

Feb 1948 - Jan 1957 Raja Ahmad bin Raja Endut (b. 1892 - d. 19..)
Feb 1957 - May 1957 Mohd Razali bin Mohamed Ali Wasi
1 May 1957 - 28 May 1957 Mohamed Shamsuddin bin Mohamed Ali
Yaakub (acting)
May 1957 - 31 Dec 1971 Tan Sri Sheikh Ahmad bin Mohamed
Jan 1972 - 22 Oct 1981 Datuk Jaafar bin Hassan
1 Nov 1981 - Aug 1986 Datuk Ali bin Ahmad
13 Aug 1986 - 6 May 1995 Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Pawanteh UMNO/BN
6 May 1995 - 17 Mar 2008 Shahidan Kassim (from 4 Dec 1995,
Dato' Seri Shahidan Kassim; from
25 Oct 2002, Datuk Seri Shahidan
Kassim) (b. 1951) UMNO/BN
17 Mar 2008 - Datuk (from 17 May 2008, Datuk
Seri) Mohammad Isa Sabu (b. 1947?) UMNO/BN

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