Wilkinson’s appraisal of this post in the Orang Besar Empat category is as follows:
“The Orang Kaya Temenggong Paduka Raja popularly known as Tengku Temenggong was a sort of the police minister. In the homely phraseology of Perak, he was the ‘Sultan’s dagger’ (Keris Pandak) or policeman, as compared with the bendahara who was the Sultan’s ‘sword of war’. The Temenggong looked after the Sultan’s fort and stations; he apprehended, tried and executed criminals, he examined weights and measures and certify to their being correct. He derived his revenue from a monopoly of the sale of salt and ataps, from fees of weights and measures and from the smaller fines that he inflicted. The large fines all went to the Sultan. The public executioner was a servant of the Temenggong.
“The Temenggong was also a territorial chief. He was lord of the Mukim Kota Lama, where he was all-powerful. His deputy in charge of his feudal district was himself, a minor chief, the Dato’ Seri Lela Paduka. The wife of a Temenggong was a To’ Puan and his heir was a To’ Muda.”
It is said that the title of the Temenggong is originally held by those who belong in Tun Saban’s lineage. The first known Temenggong was Tun Bantan bin Tun Abdul Kahar. In the past, the Temenggong title was Orang Kaya Temenggung Seri Maharaja Lela as described in a Dutch document from 1680. Like the Temenggong in the time of the Malacca Sultanate, the role of Orang Kaya Temenggong Paduka Raja as Keris Pandak is to maintain the peace. He was therefore the minister in charge of Perak’s police force and he looked after Sultan’s forts. The Temenggong also tried and executed criminals; hence, a minister in charge of the judiciary.
The Orang Kaya Temenggong Paduka Raja is assisted by the Seri Lela Paduka who is one of the Orang Besar Enam Belas. Then, at some point during the 18th century, the post of Temenggong was held by those from the lineage of Bendahara Megat Terawis, an example being Megat Mutabar bin Bendahara Megat Pandia. When the Bugis became powerful in Perak after the arrival of Daeng Selili (Haji Besar), the title of Orang Kaya Temenggong Paduka Raja was held by the descendants of Uda Tahir bin Seri Maharaja Lela Daeng Usman, the grandson of Daeng Selili.
After the arrival of the British, the status and power of the Temenggong as Keris Pandak Sultan was abolished.
The present Orang Kaya Temenggong Paduka Raja is Yang Amat Berbahagia Dato’ Seri Wan Mohd. Fathir @ Wan Fadzir bin Wan Hussain, who was appointed on 1 January 1998.
1. Wilkinson RJ. History Part II (Notes on Perak), being part of ‘Papers on Malay Subjects’. J Russell for FMS Government Press; 1909.
2. Megat Iskandar At-Terawis. The Genealogy of the Orang Kaya Temenggong Paduka Raja of Perak.