Raja Ngah Jaafar bin Raja Kechil Tengah Ahmad was the grandson of Sultan Abdul Malik Mansur Shah, the 19th Sultan of Perak. He was the brother of Raja Bendahara Alang Iskandar (Marhum Teja), who in turn was the father of Raja Idris (later the 28th Sultan of Perak). Raja Ngah Jaafar resided at Rantau Panjang.
In November 1856, Raja Ngah Jaafar (at that time the Raja Muda) was considered a de facto Sultan of Perak, following the civil war between him and and his uncle, Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah I, which led to the latter fleeing his palace at Durian Sebatang. Raja Ngah Jaafar awarded a letter proclaiming Long Jaafar’s continued control of the Larut district, which was rich in tin. In 1857, Long Jaafar died and his son Ngah Ibrahim succeeded his father as the concessionaire of Larut. In the same year, Raja Muda Jaafar was proclaimed as Sultan following the demise of Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah I, and was styled Sultan Jaafar Muazzam Shah. He then gave another charter renewing the grant of the concession for the Larut district in the name of Ngah Ibrahim on 24 May 1858.
When he ascended to the throne, Sultan Jaafar appointed Raja Ngah Ali ibni Sultan Shahabuddin as Raja Muda and Raja Ismail bin Saiyid Al-Khairat (Raja of Siak) as the Raja Bendahara, while Raja Lop Yusuf (the eldest son of Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah I) was sidelined.
It was during his reign that the Larut wars broke between the Chinese miners, the first war being in 1861. The Chinese mining labourers formed themselves into triad societies (kongsis) and soon fighting broke out between these secret societies (namely the Ghee Hin and Hai San) which spread to Penang (during the second war). The British government in Penang had to intervene, so British gunboats were sent to Larut to suppress piracy and gun running, and to restore peace and order.
The British government claimed $17,447.00 from Sultan Jaafar for expenses incurred and the Sultan being unable to pay, instructed Ngah Ibrahim to make the payment. In return, in 1864, Ngah Ibrahim was bestowed the title Orang Kaya Menteri Paduka Tuan, with the district of Larut as his territory – as far as Krian in the north and Bruas in the south.
Sultan Jaafar mangkat at Durian Sebatang in 1865, during the second Larut War. He was interred at Pulau Juar and was given the title Marhum Waliullah. Almarhum had issue which included Raja Abdullah (from Almarhum’s marriage to Wan Ngah Mahtra), who later became the 26th Sultan of Perak, and Raja Musa (from Almarhum’s marriage to Che’ Alang Amas), later Raja Muda during the reign of Sultan Idris I.
Raja Muda Ngah Jaafar’s civil war with Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah I caused the latter to seek refuge in exile at the residence of Datuk Laksamana Tok Janggut.
The Malays in Larut were the first in this country to join Chinese secret societies and later formed their own secret society. This Malay secret society was nicknamed by the F.M.S. Police as ‘Perisoc‘ (Perak River Secret Society). After causing much trouble in Larut, Perisoc was broken up by the police in 1937.
Raja Muda Musa I was the father of Sultan Abdul Aziz, the 31st Sultan of Perak.
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2. Buku Chenderamata Pertabalan Sultan Idris Shah.
3. Buku Chenderamata Pertabalan Sultan Azlan Shah.
4. Portal Raja Kita Negeri Perak Darul Ridzuan
5. Raja Nur Jannah Raja Hirdan.