Raja Intan Suraya was born Raja Zainab to DYMM Sultan Iskandar Shah ibni Sultan Idris I and Raja Perempuan Kelsom in 1923. She was educated in a Malay school in Kuala Kangsar and tutored in English privately.
Raja Intan Suraya was well known amongst the Perak royal circles, especially amongst the ladies. Raja Om Raja Sulaiman (aunt to Raja Mahariz Muzaffar, co-editor of SembangKuala) describes Raja Intan Suraya as a kind and generous lady – “… bila tolong, duit macam ayor keluor“. Raja Puan Seri Noora Ashikin (wife of Tan Sri Dato’ Seri DiRaja Haji Ramli Ngah Talib) had this to say about her, “… I fondly remembered the times YAM Raja Intan Suraya would come to my house to visit my dad, and even when I was all grown up and married, Almarhumah would continue to visit us at the Government house in Ipoh. She was always very nice, simple and humble, and always spoke of my dad.”
At the age of 40, Raja Intan Suraya even signed up as as a volunteer for national service, registering herself at the District Office to become the first female member of the Royal family to volunteer for such a service. This was reported in The Straits Times in 1963 and she “… wanted to join the Air Force because she has been interested in flying since childhood days.” She was also an active member of Kaum Ibu Malaya (now known as Wanita UMNO) where she was chairperson from 1963 to 1964.
As mentioned earlier, she was born Raja Zainab but changed her name to Raja Intan Suraya. An article in The Straits Time in 1967 described the reason behind the change was due to a continuing illness that she was suffering from a very young age. The Straits Times article described her saying that the name Raja Intan Suraya was suggested to her by Raja Perempuan Taayah, and the change had been agreed to by her brother, DYMM Sultan Idris Shah II.
Raja Intan Suraya was at one time married to Raja Badrul Raja Bendahara Abdul Rashid but was later divorced. She had once remarried but had no issue.
1. A volunteer from Royal family. The Straits Times. 1963 December 30. p6.
2. Huen PK. What’s in a name? Good health for ruler’s sister. The Straits Times. 1967 July 8. p13.
3. SembangKuala@Facebook: Wall photos.