KUALA LUMPUR: The ruler of Negri Sembilan is selected by a council of ruling chiefs in the state, or the datuk datuk undang. The person selected will assume the position of Yang di-Pertuan Besar, or Yam Tuan, a post which began in 1773.
The state, which had been receiving immigrants from Sumatra for hundreds of years, is ruled by a unique form of government.
Before it became known as Negri Sembilan, the area was ruled by the Sultan of Malacca. After Malacca was defeated by the Portuguese, it was ruled by the Johor sultanate.
By 1760, however, Johor, which was having trouble from the Dutch, decided to allow the state to find a raja or sultan from Minangkabau in Sumatra.
Between 1760 and 1770, a council of leaders known as the datuk-datuk penghulu luak (the predecessor of the datuk datuk undang today) left for Pagar Ruyong in Minangkabau in search of a leader. The Raja of Pagar Ruyong -- who was believed to be a descendant of Alexander The Great, gave them a leader in the form of his son, Raja Mahmud. Raja Mahmud later became known as Raja Melewar when he came to Negri Sembilan.
When Raja Melewar died in 1795, instead of selecting his son as their new leader, the same council of leaders once again set out on a journey to their ancestral land.
This time, the Raja of Pagar Ruyong gave another one of his sons -- Raja Hitam as their new Yam Tuan.
Raja Hitam married Raja Melewar's daughter, Tengku Aishah, but they had no children. He died in 1808.
Once again, the leaders of Negri Sembilan went to Minangkabau in search of someone to replace their leader.
The Raja of Pagar Ruyong at that time sent his son, Raja Lenggang. He wedded Raja Hitam's second daughter, Tengku Ngah, from another marriage. They had two sons -- Tengku Radin and Tengku Imam.
Before he died in 1824, Raja Lenggang said it was his wish that Tengku Radin be made the Yam Tuan.
This time, the datuk datuk undang did not embark on a trip to meet the Raja of Pagar Ruyong.
Thus, for the first time in its history, Negri Sembilan had a hereditary leader.
Yam Tuan Radin ruled for 30 years before he died. Then, his brother, Yang di-Pertuan Imam, ruled for eight years.
When he died, Negri Sembilan was plunged into uncertainty when Yam Tuan Radin's son, Tengku Antah, and Yang di-Pertuan Imam's son, Tengku Ahmad Tunggal, scrambled for the throne.
The council did not want to accept Tengku Ahmad Tunggal, so Tengku Antah became ruler until 1888. His son, Tuanku Muhammad, later took over until his death in 1933.
Tuanku Muhammad's son, Tuanku Abdul Rahman, took over in 1960. The latter's son, Tuanku Munawir, ascended the throne in 1960 and ruled until 1967.
When Tuanku Munawir died, his brother, Tuanku Ja'afar Tuanku Abdul Rahman, became the ruler of Negri Sembilan. -- Information from Warisan Diraja Negri Sembilan Darul Khusus
THE ROYAL LINEAGE
1. Raja Melewar 1773-1795 (invited)
2. Yam Tuan Hitam 1795-1808 (invited)
3. Yam Tuan Lenggang 1808-1824 (invited)
4. Raja Radin 1824-1861 (son)
5. Yang di-Pertuan Imam 1861-1869 (brother)
6. Yam Tuan Antah 1872-1888 (Raja Radin's son)
7. Tuanku Muhammad 1888-1933 (son)
8. Tuanku Abdul Rahman 1933-1960 (son)
9. Tuanku Munawir 1960-1967 (son)
10. Tuanku Ja'afar 1967-2008 (brother)