My dad: Allahyarham Raja Mohamed ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar

by Raja Mariam Raja Mohamed

My father had long left us. Too long, really. And even as I struggle to pen this, I realize that this is one way for me to keep his memory alive.

Allahyarham Raja Mohamed (Yong Namad) ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar (1928 – 1961).

It was a clear star spangled night, I was told, on the 1st day of April, 1961 and Bapak was on his way home to cook the mee goreng he had promised his expecting wife, my mother, who was then in the early stage of pregnancy. He had almost reached home, which was the Istana Kenangan (now the Muzium Kuala Kangsar) when it happened.

The aftermath. What was left of the MG.

The already malfunctioning MG Sports car, belonging to his elder brother Almarhum Sultan Idris II (then the Raja Muda of Perak) suddenly swerved violently and Bapak failed to control it. Instead of hitting the brakes, Bapak hit the gas pedal. The car hit a lamp post, which sent it somersaulting a few times into the air. The hood was down, and Bapak was flung out of the car onto the tarred road. Bukit Chandan was sent into darkness from the impact.

The cigarette dropped from his mouth when he heard the crash, and as he reached the scene of the accident, the good neighbour found a seriously injured Bapak on the tarmac, lying on his back. He taught Bapak the syahadah, and after repeating it the best he could, Bapak turned over and passed away.

Bapak and my mom, Tengku Khillah (Tengku June) Tengku Yahya.

My mother was waiting at the head of the steps at home. She instinctively cried his name out, jumped down the stairs and wanted to rush to him. She knew that Bapak was involved in that horrible sounding crash.

And so, on that fateful night, at the age of 33, Bapak left us.

Pallbearers bringing Allahyarham Bapak to his final resting place.

Sadly, I have no recollection of my father. I was too young. What I know are just snippets of the kind of person he was. My mother described Bapak as a jovial and generous person who hardly ever lose his temper. He was fiercely devoted to his mother, siblings and even friends. He could never say ‘no’ to them, especially to his dear mother, Almarhum Raja Perempuan Kelsom. My mother recalled that once, while having lunch, his mother sent word for him to meet her. Without a word of complaint, he stopped his lunch immediately, and went over to see to her needs.

Winning my mother’s heart was no easy task. And it was not much help that my mother happened to be an acutely shy homebody with a very strict father watching over her. Even to catch glimpses of her required some elaborate planning and strategizing, not unlike the plots of a P. Ramlee movie! With the help of his sisters, his ‘partners in crime’, they would ‘lure’ my mother out of the house in the pretext of attending a function or the other, and oblivious to her, Bapak would steal some looks from behind doors or walls! It took a while for my mother to warm up to Bapak, but when she did, it was for a lifetime. She remained loyal to him to this day and refused to remarry when she became a widow at the age of 26.

That's me on my mom's lap, together with my brothers, Raja Jamil (left) and Raja Hishamuddin.

Bapak adored his children. He would always have them, my elder brothers, around him on his outings, be it kite/wau flying, fishing, swimming in Sungai Perak or even playing the gasing/top . And then I came along, the first girl after a string of three boys, and the baby of the family. Naturally, I fast became his favourite little girl. As a person who had always managed to rein in his temper, he would, however, lose it on my account, reminisced my mother. Once, after bumping my head against the sewing machine, Bapak gave the poor machine such a kick that the noise had startled the people on the grounds of the Istana Kenangan! The top pockets of Bapak’s shirts would always have a little tear at the corner because that’s where I would hang my hand whenever he carried me around.

During his days, Bapak was an unbeatable speed boat champion, with his boat called Damak. The speed boat race would always be held at Lumut, drawing boat racers as far as Singapore. His closest rival was his brother, Almarhum Raja Ahmad Siffudin, who never managed to beat him, remembered my mother. Unlike his brothers, Bapak was not musically inclined and much preferred to feel the wind against his face in his speed boat.

Bapak receiving a trophy from Raja Perempuan Taayah at one of the speed boat events in Lumut.

I never knew my late Bapak, but I love him all the same as any daughter would. And for those kind visitors of SembangKuala who had known my late Dad, it would be nice to hear your stories about him. And perhaps, I will get to know him a little better.

Al-Fatihah for you, Bapak. May Allah keep your soul safe. Amin.


Raja Mariam Raja Mohamed lives in Rapat Setia, Ipoh. All photos are provided courtesy of the author.

13 thoughts on “My dad: Allahyarham Raja Mohamed ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar

  1. Salam,

    I was told by Tengku June (Raja Mariam’s mother) during my recent visit to her house, the good neighbour who taught Allahyarham to mengucap was Allahyarham Pak Haji Shukor, a siak and ‘orang raja’.


  2. Salam,

    Thank you Jannah. Yes, I believe he was the one who assisted my father with the syahadah. According to Ende (my mother), he was about to enjoy a puff at his verandah (of a double storey wooden house) when the accident happened. The house is no longer standing now but if I’m not mistaken, it was situated somewhere near arwah Ende Lun’s house now.

    Yes, the site of the fatal accident was as where you described. Near ‘Kedai Maidin’ I think. In fact, for your information, the lamp post was later relocated several feet behind its original site after the accident.

    Another thing that I suddenly remember now, Ende said, the Chinese car mechanic cried uncontrollably upon learning of the accident. Apparently, he had insisted to drive my father home that night because of the problem with the car but my father refused. He was supposed to repair the car the following day.

    All these were fated and as His servants, we accept Allah’s will in good faith.

    Dear editors,

    I am equally grateful that you published my little tribute to my father, whom I love dearly. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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  4. Pingback: Allahyarham Raja Mohamed Iskandar: The speedboat enthusiast « SembangKuala BLOG

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  6. salam ku yam,
    i was told about this story again and again by my mother as we passed by the road heading to bukit candan.
    al fatihah .
    thanks for sharing.

    • Salam Ku Yong,

      Thank you. Just my small way to keep my father’s memory alive. I wish I had known your late mother.. she seemed to know a lot about Bukit Chandan’s histroy. May Allah bless her soul.

  7. Salam Ende Yam

    We both didnt really get the chance to know our bapak (I called my late father bapak too) but we definitely love our bapak dearly. Alfatihah

    Lots of love and hugs.

    • Salam Ku Mazyah @ Yang,

      We seem to share quite a few things in common, apart from our ancestry.

      May Allah bless our fathers’ souls.

      Lots of love & hugs to you too dear niece.

  8. InsyaAllah, we’ll get to meet our fathers later. Tu yang i risau nih, my dad might stare at me for not being the anak lelaki soleh as he had expected!

    So, anytime i teringat my dad, i akan hadiahkan dia pahala Al-Fatihah. Harap2 nanti dia akan pat my back n smile at me. insyaAllah.

    Thanks for the reminder, Ku yam.

  9. Dear Lan,

    My pleasure.

    There’s still time for us to be that anak lelaki soleh (& anak perempuan solehah), insyaAllah.

    Here’s praying for the both of us & others for hidayah & the will to serve our mothers/fathers in order to please Allah and the roh of our departed fathers.

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