Raja Kimas (Raja Saleh / Raja Samsu) ibni Almarhum Sultan Muhammad Shah (Raja Bisnu) was made the 16th Sultan of Perak, with the title Sultan Mahmud Shah, following the demise of his brother, Marhum Kaharullah Sultan Iskandar Dzulkarnain on 20 June 1765. Almarhum was the second son of Sultan Muhammad Shah and his consort, Che’ Muda Pahang (some say that the consort was Anak Baik-Baik Kinta and not Che’ Muda Pahang). Sultan Iskandar was his brother whilst his half siblings (from a different mother – Orang Bukit Tuntong) were Sultan Alauddin, Raja Inu, Sultan Ahmaddin, Raja Shah Alam (Sa’alam) and two sisters (names unknown).
Sultan Mahmud Shah was married to his cousin, Raja Kechil Ampuan, the daughter of Sultan Alauddin Mughayat Riayat Shah (SP12) and they begot a son named Raja Ibrahim and a daughter. Sultan Mahmud Shah resided in Pulau Indera Sakti but later moved to Pasir Pulai, Pulau Besar near the banks of Sungai Perak. Pasir Pulai was then renamed Pasir Pulai Indera Mulia. His siblings were made heirs apparent and presumptive – Raja Alauddin (later Sultan Alauddin Mansur Shah) was appointed Raja Muda, Raja Chulan was the Raja Bendahara, Raja Inu was Raja Kecil Besar, his son, Raja Ibrahim was made Raja Kechil Muda (Raja Kechil Bongsu Muda) and Raja Ahmad/Chu/Bongsu (Sultan Ahmaddin) was made Raja Kechil Bongsu. Perak at this time was peaceful and had political stability. It was described that the appointment of Sultan Mahmud Shah to the throne was unchallenged due to his late brother’s influence.
During Sultan Mahmud Shah’s reign of Perak, the Dutch East Indies Company was still trading tin ore at their outpost in Tanjung Putus. Raja Haji, a reknowned Bugis warrior from Riau and his elder brother, Raja Lumu, the Raja of Selangor, came to Perak in 1770. Raja Lumu was married to a Perak royal princess, following which he was installed as Sultan Sallehuddin Shah by Sultan Mahmud Shah, in full royal ceremony of the Raja-Raja Melayu. As the Sultans of Perak were descendants of the Melaka sultanate, Raja Lumu felt that his installation by Sultan Mahmud would ensure his daulat was bestowed upon him from a genuine source. When Sultan Sallehuddin Shah returned to Selangor, his installation as sultan was witnessed by the rakyat of Selangor, with the accompaniment of the nobat. Perak was in good terms with Selangor at that point. Selangor required tin from Perak, and Sultan Mahmud Shah appeared to have a pro-Bugis and anti-Dutch stance in his views. A more accurate appraisal of the situation was that Sultan Mahmud had a rather open policy as Almarhum was not totally opposed to the Dutch (Almarhum did renew the agreement that was made between the Dutch and his predecessor), but was somewhat firm in his opposition to the Dutch’s demand for a reduction in tin prices.
Nevertheless, his apparent pro-Bugis political stance was important for the economy of Perak, especially when the Bugis was a military force to be reckoned with. The Bugis had proven their might when they defeated the forces of Siam, Acheh and the Dutch in their (separate) attempts to take Perak. It was at the time of Sultan Mahmud’s reign that Perak’s previously strained relations with Kedah and Selangor had tremendously improved. Marriages between the royal houses of Perak and Selangor occurred – one was between the Sultan of Selangor and a daughter of Raja Bendahara Chulan, the other between the daughter of the Sultan of Selangor, Raja Syarifah, and the (?)grandson of Sultan Mahmud. However, at the end of Almarhum’s days, Perak’s improved relations with Kedah had taken a turn for the worse as the Raja Muda of Kedah’s marriage to the daughter of Sultan Salehuddin of Selangor ended in divorce, following which a Bugis army led by Raja Haji attacked Kedah. Further to this, the pro-Bugis stance of Sultan Mahmud’s was not accepted by Raja Muda Alauddin and Raja Bendahara Chulan as the Dutch are enemies of Bugis. Sultan Mahmud’s reasoning for wanting to be allied to Bugis was to determine Perak’s safety as Almarhum was aware of the capability of Bugis especially when he had first-hand experience in battles against them. Almarhum began to experience increased pressure from Raja Muda Alauddin and the Dutch. In addition, Almarhum’s health was failing. Almarhum’s illness prevented his attendance of his own grandson’s wedding to Raja Syarifah, and he was concerned that his heir (Raja Muda Alauddin) was unlikely to attend, hence marring the relationship Perak had with Selangor.
Sultan Mahmud Shah reigned over Perak for 8 years and mangkat in Pasir Pulai Indera Mulia and was interred at Teluk Memali (in Pulau Besar) on 17 June 1773, with the posthumous title of Marhum Muda. SembangKuala had recently published a short, non-exhaustive family tree tracing the descendants of Marhum Muda, based on Raja Azaham Adnan’s appraisal of the subject.
Notes on Marhum Muda in Bahasa Malaysia by the late Raja Azaham Raja Adnan as edited by his son, YM Raja Khuzairie, can be read here.
JSBRAS vol. 14 p307.
JSBRAS vol. 48, June 1907. p102.
Perak, Abode of Grace. p258.
Not much is known about Raja Ibrahim apart from the ranks he held: Raja Kechil Muda (cf. Salasilah Raja-raja Perak), Raja Kecil Besar (cf. Perak, Abode of Grace p328) and Raja Bendahara (cf. JSBRAS vol 14, June 1882, p308) which also described that he was the first ever Raja Bendahara of Perak but this is at odds with the descriptions in Misa Melayu and Salasilah Raja-raja Perak.
Perak, Abode of Grace. p335: description pertaining a Raja Di-Hulu Perak, who was the son-in-law to Sultan Mahmud.
The place where Marhum Muda was interred is in Kampung Pasir Pulai, Pulau Besar, Mukim Pasir Panjang Ulu, about 8 km south of Kampung Gajah.
Perak, Abode of Grace. p313.
1. Laman rasmi Pejabat DYMM Sultan Perak
2. The late YM Raja Azaham Raja Adnan: KETURUNAN RAJA MAHADI, with further updates from Allahyarham’s son, YM Raja Khuzairie Raja Azaham.