I’ve just received a SMS from my brother to advise me of the passing of my uncle, HRH Tuanku Ja’afar. It is a sad day for us.

My uncle has been the Yamtuan of Negri Sembilan since I was a boy and so for me he has always been Ruler.

With my uncle’s passing, all the male children of Tuanku Abdul Rahman (the first King of Malaya) are gone. His eldest son, Tuanku Munawir passed away in 1967. My father, his youngest son, Tunku Abdullah, passed away only four months ago. And now Tuanku Ja’afar is gone. It is the end of an era.


Tuanku Ja’afar has always been good and kind. He was a sportsman and loved golf. He was a family man. Though I have not seen much of him these past years, I will miss him dearly.

Before becoming the Ruler, he was a Malaysian diplomat and was about to take up his post as the Ambassador of Japan when fate stepped in and he became the 10th Yang DiPertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan.

I remember visiting the Istana with my mother when I was 9 or 10 and played the electric organ. He praised my playing as any good diplomat would. He also said that I looked a bit like him when he was a boy!

Thoughts will undoubtedly turn to who will be the next Yamtuan of Negri Sembilan. Unlike other states, in Negri Sembilan the eldest son does not automatically become the ruler. The Undangs have to elect from the Four Royal Princes.

My thoughts turn to his immediate family, to Tunku Ampuan Najihah, his six children and many grandchildren.