This letter was written by Raja Muda Abdullah to Sultan Ismail Mu’abidin Riayat Shah, dated 7 December 1872, during a period of turmoil in Perak. As Raja Muda Abdullah refused to go to Sayong after the demise of Almarhum Sultan Ali, in fear of reprisals from Raja Yusuf in Senggang, Raja Bendahara Ismail (whose maternal grandfather was Almarhum Sultan Ahmaddin) was installed as Sultan. Raja Muda Abdullah was also not on good terms with OKK Menteri Larut Ngah Ibrahim bin Long Jaafar. It was described that the internal turmoil amongst the Perak Rajas was such that Sultan Ismail had to appoint a pemangku Raja Muda named Raja Tepus due to poor cooperation from Raja Muda Abdullah. 1872 was also the year of the third Larut War between the Ghee Hin and the Hai San. It is also noted that these two warring factions were indeed supported by different Perak Rajas and Menteris.
Interestingly, the first ‘involvement’ of the British in Perak’s then political state was in 1872. The Governor of the Straits Settlements in Singapore, Sir Harry Ord, had instructed CJ Irving, the Auditor-General of the Straits Settlements to investigate the political turmoil in Perak. Raja Muda Abdullah finally met Sir Harry Ord in Penang in August 1873, although at that point in time, the British had a ‘non-interference’ stance in the affairs of states not related to the Straits Settlements.
The content and tone of this letter of Raja Muda Abdullah’s seen above appears to reflect the many aformentioned issues.
1. Wilkinson RJ. History, Part 2. Notes on Perak history (Appendix A). In Papers on Malay Subjects. Kuala Lumpur: The FMS Government Press; 1908. p101.
2. Portal Raja Kita Negeri Perak Darul Ridzuan