32nd Sultan of Perak: Sultan Yussuf Izzudin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Jalil (1948-1963)

Portrait of Sultan Yussuf Izzudin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Jalil. (Source: Family of Almarhum DYAM Raja Ekram's private collection)

Raja Yussuf Izzudin was born on 15 January 1891 at Kuala Kangsar – the eldest son of Almarhum Sultan Abdul Jalil. As a boy, he was educated at Hogan School (before it was known as Clifford School) and later at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar. He then joined government service in 1911 as a Malay probationary officer at the state secretariat in Taiping.

A portrait of Raja Yussuf Izzudin as Raja Muda, 1938. (Source: Arkib Negara Malaysia)

Almarhum was appointed Raja Di-Hilir on 25 January 1919 and later became Raja Bendahara in 1921. He was also a member of the Perak State Council. Almarhum was also in the Malayan Volunteer Infantry (MVI), joining as a private in 1925. Almarhum then was made a lieutenant two years later and was a reserve officer in the Federated Malay States Volunteer Forces (FMSVF). Almarhum continued working in the government administrative service and in 1935, he was appointed a magistrate in the Kinta district. Three years later, Almarhum was appointed Raja Muda, on 15 October 1938, upon the demise of his uncle, Sultan Iskandar Shah.

Almarhum ascended the throne of Perak on 29 March 1948, following the demise of Sultan Abdul Aziz, and was styled Sultan Yussuf Izzudin Shah. As Sultan of Perak, Almarhum had shown a consistent interest in the welfare of the people and this was reflected in his official speeches.

Almarhum Sultan Yussuf Izzudin was known as a Sultan whose name stood for progress. Almarhum was also remembered as affable, but courtly and dignified, and he was a Sultan that brought about remarkable changes in Perak. It was during his reign that Part II of the Perak Constitution was written and confirmed on 25 February 1953. This concerned articles 1 to 78 which related to the sovereign, the appointments of the sovereign and titled Raja, the Royal Seal, the Dewan Negara and matters concerning the Orang Besar.

A photo of Almarhum taken at Trafalgar Square, London. c.1953-5. (Source: Family of Almarhum DYAM Raja Ekram's private collection)

Almarhum had a deep love for the people and the rakyat in return venerated him as a just and kindly Sultan, a simple man despite his high office. Never declining to accept an invitation for any function no matter how small, Almarhum also made it a point of visiting the various districts of his sprawling State to see the people and talk to them. Almarhum was also the first Malayan ruler to fly in a glider when he went for a 15 minute flight on 28 September 1953 at the Perak Flying Club. The $12,000 glider was later named after him.

Tall, stately and always dignified, Almarhum had a ready smile and handshake for all. One of his most outstanding characteristics was his desire to meet the common people and mix with them. To his end, Istana Iskandariah, a showpiece, was always open for visitors from all walks of life and if advance notice was given of the visit, he would ensure that suitable entertainment was provided for them. There was a warm spot in the hearts of the rakyat of Perak, in particular the Bukit Chandan folk, for Almarhum Sultan Yussuf Izzudin as a ruler who was first their friend and then a Sultan. To all, Almarhum was polite to the last and remained a ruler with the common touch.

A photo taken of Almarhum Sultan Yussuf Izzudin (seated in the middle) during his frequent visits to meet the rakyat at kampungs. Almarhumah Raja Perempuan Taayah is also seen here, seated to his left. (Photo: YM Raja Mimi Razman)

Almarhum Sultan Yussuf Izzudin had visited England four times. The first was in 1934, when he was presented to George V at Buckingham Palace as Raja Bendahara, and later in 1950 when he had an audience with George VI. Almarhum returned to London in 1953 as an official guest at the coronation of Elizabeth II, and again in 1955, when he had an audience with Elizabeth II.

Almarhum Sultan Yussuf Izzudin receiving King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand at Istana Iskandariah, June 1962. (Photo: YM Raja Zazlan Raja Shahrin)

In June 1962, Almarhum played host to the King and Queen of Thailand. However, on 22 October 1962, Almarhum fell ill. A partial stroke left both his legs paralysed and a few days later an abdominal operation was performed to relieve his bladder. Ever since, Almarhum gradually reduced the number of his official functions and took to using a walking stick. Despite his illness, Almarhum would take an occasionally evening drive, one of his favorite pastimes, in the outskirts of Bukit Chandan.

Almarhum Sultan Yussuf Izzudin mangkat at Istana Iskandariah at 4.12p.m on 5 January 1963, ten weeks after the stroke which partially paralysed him and came 11 days before his birthday. He was 72. Almarhum was interred at the Al-Ghufran Royal Mausoleum on Bukit Chandan and was given the posthumous title of Marhum Ghafarullah. Almarhum was succeeded by Sultan Idris Al-Mutawakkil Alallahi Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Shah Kadassallah.

Circular dated 5 January 1963 from the Prime Minister's Office in Kuala Lumpur requesting the state flag to be hoisted at half mast as a mark of respect. (Source: Arkib Negara Malaysia)

Sultan Yussuf and Raja Perempuan Taayah (leftmost) with Raja Azlan Shah (later Sultan, second left) and Che Bainun binti Mohd Ali (later Raja Permaisuri, rightmost). (Source: Family of Almarhum DYAM Raja Ekram's private collection)

Almarhum was married, at the age of 22 in 1912, to Raja Ta’ayah binti Raja Abdul Hamid, and she remained his first wife until her demise on 18 February 1962. There were other marriages and divorces in his life, which included Tengku Permaisuri Sapura, Hajjah Che Khadija binti Dato’ Wangsa Ahmad and the actress Che Norizan binti Muhammad Noor (who later married the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee).

Almarhum Sultan Yusuf had issue – four sons and a daughter. The eldest son was Almarhum Raja Ekram (Raja Di-Hilir 1963-1978), followed by Raja Zairan, Almarhum Raja Baharom and DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah, the current Sultan of Perak. Almarhum’s only daughter, Raja Pok Saidatuliz, was the wife of Tengku Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Sulaiman, the Tengku Seri Wangsa of Selangor.


1. Arkib Negara Malaysia.
2. Laman Rasmi Pejabat DYMM Sultan Perak.
3. Portal Raja Kita Negeri Perak Darul Ridzuan.
4. RoyalArk.net
5. M.A. Fawzi Basri. Cempaka Sari: Sejarah Kesultanan Negeri Perak. 1986.
6. The Straits Times. 1953 September 28. p4.
7. The Straits Times. 1963 January 5. p1, 8.

15 thoughts on “32nd Sultan of Perak: Sultan Yussuf Izzudin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Jalil (1948-1963)

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  8. Assalamualaikum. My great-great grandmother is the sibling of Tengku Permaisuri Sapura. Can you please share some information about this Tengku Permaisuri Sapura? I was told she had 7 siblings – Umi Kalsom, Teh Putih, Teh Sapura (Tengku Permaisuri Sapura), Arshad, Haji Abdullah (Tok Perdana) Penghulu Bagan Datok, Jais and Omar. We are all from Mukim Bandar, where Raja Ahmad was buried.


    • Waalaikumsalam – We don’t have any further information regarding your great-great grandaunt, Tg Permaisuri Sapura. From my own knowledge, my dad had once met her, having to pick her up from Borneo Motors in Ipoh and bringing her to meet my late grandfather, Raja Kamaralzaman, who was then RDH Perak. Perhaps the descendants of Mohom Yussuf who are reading may be of greater help! Wassalam.

      -R Mahariz Muzaffar

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  10. Assalamualaikum. When my father Dato’ Ahmad bin Mohd Yunus was the District Officer in Taiping in 1/5/1960 – 1/7/1962, the late Sultan of Perak, Sultan Raja Yussuf Izzudin paid a brief visit to our house on his way home to Kuala Kangsar. I was only a child of eight then and with my five sisters and two brothers we received him with great pride. His Highness rested in our guest room (as he was not in the best of health) and later in the evening, he returned to Kuala Kangsar.

  11. The late Permaisuri Teh Sapura family still lives in Simpang Taiping.One of her siblings the late Itam Jawahir has a grand daughter ,the present DG of Registration Dept.more info may be available

    • En Marzuki, out of curiosity how do you know that info you published. Yes, it is true. Itam was my auntie. Do get in touch. My email is published in the next message below. Thanks.

  12. Salam, I’m doing some research for a stage musical, on Norizan, who was once married to Almarhum Sultan Yusuf before she married P.Ramlee, do you know how I can get more information on her background before she married Almarhum, and would you by chance have any photos of Norizan when she was married to Almarhum?

  13. Prof Abu Hanifah, I am the late Che Teh Sapura’s nephew. My late father Khalid bin Haji Abas was the youngest sibling in a family of 8, I think. But none of the names are as per what you mentioned in your post. I was very close to my aunt. Che Teh Sapura supported me financially since 1963 when my father died. She passed away in 1972 just 3 days after Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Bota Kiri (or Kanan?) after a car accident upon returning from a visit to the then Raja di Hilir’s residence in Ipoh. For info on genealogy, you can visit geni.com and search for her name. I am managing that family tree and my name is Zainal Arifin Khalid. Email zainalkhalid@gmail.com.

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