DYAM Raja Kamaralzaman bin Raja Mansur was born at Kota Lama Kiri, Kuala Kangsar on 28 September 1892. He was the grandson of Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah II. He was educated at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar from 1905. where he was the first Head Boy during the Headship of William Hargreaves. At College, he was a keen footballer and was Captain of a team called ‘The Moderates’. He was fondly known as Engku Kam (pronounced cam).
After leaving MCKK, Raja Kam reported for duty to the District Officer in Seremban as Malay Settlement Officer in Negeri Sembilan on 1 June 1910, with a modest salary of $720 per annum. He was also a 1st. Malay Assistant to R.O. Winstedt (later Sir), who was then the District Officer for Kuala Pilah, for four years.
Raja Kam later joined the Malay Administrative Service in 1917. Then in 1927, he was transferred to the Malayan Civil Service (his uncle Raja Kechil Tengah Said Tauphy ibni Sultan Abdullah was the first Malay officer to be absorbed into the MCS in 1917). He joined the FMS Volunteer Force in 1928 as a Lieutenant. Later, he was promoted as District Officer of Bentong from 1932 to 1933 prior to his appointment as Magistrate of Seremban from 1933 to 1934, before been transferred back to Kerian as DO for three years beginning 1934.
Together with Raja Tun Uda Raja Muhammad (later the first Governor of Pulau Pinang), Raja Kam was appointed an ‘unofficial’ Member of the Federal Council by the High Commissioner of the FMS in 1936. It was common practice for a Malay Civil Servant of outstanding ability to be made an ‘unofficial’ member. During this time, Raja Kam had taken the initiative to propose that the Sungai Manik area to be made a rice bowl, as well as being a proponent in the expansion of the Malay Regiment.
He was also the State Treasurer of Perak from 1938 to 1941. During the Japanese invasion of Malaya in 1941, he brought the Treasury of Perak with him to Kuala Lumpur (to bakor duit orang puteh – this subject will be dealt with in SembangKuala in due course).
Raja Kam was granted the title of Raja Kechil Bongsu on 10 May 1934 before promoted to Raja Kechil Muda (this title was abolished in 1953) on 1 January 1940 and to Raja Kechil Tengah[*] on 7 September 1940. He retired from the Malayan Civil Service in 1946, after which he performed the Haj.
Raja Kam was awarded with an OBE by George VI in 1948, and soon after, on 15 July 1948, he was appointed YAM Raja di-Hilir upon the demise of Almarhum Sultan Abdul Aziz.
Despite being retired from civil service, Raja Kam held several voluntary appointments:
1. Constitutional Committee in drawing up the Constitution of the Federation of Malaya
2. Chairman of the State Committee for Territorial Chiefs of Perak
3. President of the Perak Department of Religious Affairs
4. served as a board member on the Federal Pilgrimage Board (now Lembaga Urusan dan Tabung Haji)
5. served on the governing body of the Kinta Electric Distribution Company
Raja Kam was appointed CMG by Queen Elizabeth II in 1955.
Raja Kam mangkat from a stroke in Taiping on 19 July 1962. It was described that Almarhumah Raja Perempuan Kelsom even attended to the decoration of the coffin carrying Raja Kam’s jenazah. The hearse carrying his jenazah to Bukit Chandan was accompanied by his sons, Raja Biazid (who carried all of Raja Kam’s medals on a cushion) and Raja Muzaffar.
Raja Kam had issue, twenty three children in all.
Raja Kam had been described as a man with an unfailing sense of humour and charm. His sportsmanship did not end during his days at the Malay College. He had played polo with Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, was billiards champ of the Ipoh Club (until 1951) and a keen marksman with the rifle. He was well known and liked by the administrative circle and the different communities, and he was aptly described as ‘the smiling civil servant’ by the late Mubin Sheppard.
[*] There appears to be a discrepancy noted in the RoyalArk.net page on Raja Kam’s appointment in 1934, which was stated as being Raja Kechil Besar. According to the heir system of Raja Kechil Berempat in 1934, the RKB is the highest rank only next to Raja Di-Hilir. This is felt to be somewhat unlikely by the Editors and we are of the opinion that he was likely Raja Kechil Bongsu (and this is reiterated in Sheppard’s article in Malaya In History) in 1934, as he was then promoted to Raja Kechil Muda in 1940. The unusual thing that occurred following this was the shuffling of the Raja Kechil Berempat hierarchy in which the Raja Kechil Tengah now outranked the RKM, which saw him being appointed to RKT following the reshuffle.
[**] There is a street in Canning Garden, Ipoh named Jalan Raja Kam after Raja Kamaralzaman.
2. Arkib Negara Malaysia
3. Sheppard M. The late Raja Kamaralzaman – Raja Di-Hilir Perak. The smiling civil servant. Malaya In History. 1962; VIII (1): 37-38.
4. Raja Mansur RK. Some early impressions. In MCKK Impressions (1905-2005). p 5-6.
5. Mahariz Muzaffar. The smiling civil servant. 無秩序の胃. 2005. Available from http://stomachofchaos.com/?p=284