Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Shah: an addendum

A biography of Almarhum Sultan Iskandar ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris I can be found in the 1970 Golden Anniversary Magazine for the Iskandar Polo Club in Kuala Kangsar. Almarhum Sultan Iskandar was a keen polo player and founded the club in 1920 and the biography featured some interesting stories concerning Almarhum himself.


A photo said to have been taken at a polo match at the grounds near Talang. From left - Raja Shahar Shah Raja Harun Al Rashid, Raja Abdul Rashid ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris I, Major L. Vears (ADC to Almarhum), Prince George - later the Duke of Kent (son of George V, and father to Prince Edward the current Duke of Kent), Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, Raja Harun Al Rashid ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris I, Raja Shahruddin ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris I and Yun. The score was 3-1 in favour of the future Duke of Kent's team. (Photo courtesy of the family of Almarhum Raja Ekram ibni Almarhum Sultan Yussuf Izzudin)


Following Almarhum’s first civil service posting at the Secretariat in Taiping, he joined the FMS Police Force as Assistant Commissioner in 1905: “When the Police Force was organised in the early part of the 20th century, the Malays regarded and spoke of the policemen as ‘Anjing Kompani’ meaning dogs of the Government. As a result of the unfavourable impression, the question of Malay recruitment into the Police Force confronted a major problem for the British”. Captain McD Graham, the then Adjutant of the newly Police Depot in Kuala Lumpur, had served in Perak for a number of years during which he came to know the English-educated third son of Almarhum Sultan Idris I. “It appeared Capt.McD Graham had successfully managed to persuade Raja Alang to agree to join the Police, but to get him into the Police, approval of his father, Sultan Idris, was necessary. Capt. McD Graham, therefore, submitted his suggestion to Capt H.L Talbot, the then Commissioner of Police who readily agreed. Action was accordingly taken to submit the proposal to the High Commissioner, Sir Frank Swettenham who supported and discussed the proposal with Sultan Idris. It took only a little time for the Sultan, a ruler with a great foresight to give his consent and approval in the matter. Thus in 1905, Raja Alang Iskandar became the first Malay Assistant Commissioner for Police. With the entry of Raja Alang Iskandar, an Heir Presumptive to the Throne of a premier State in Malaya, the expression ‘anjing kompani’ melted into thin air and in substitution to the above expression, the term Guardians of Law and Peace came into use.”

Almarhum Sultan Iskandar’s sportsmanship was not only limited to polo and other forms of team sports he played since his Balliol days: “His hobbies were horse training and riding, sports car and speed boat driving. He was the first Ruler who brought and drove speed boat in the Perak river to the delight and admiration of the people.” It is possible that this was one of the reasons why Almarhum’s sons were very keen in speed boat racing, namely the late Raja Mohamed (Yong Namad) and Raja Ahmed Siffudin.

Almarhum had returned to England, nineteen years after leaving Oxford: “In 1924, he visited England during the Wembley Exhibition. He was granted audience by His Majesty the King George V.”


A photo in the biography showing Almarhum Sultan Iskandar and the Raja-Raja Bergelar at C.W.C. Parr's retirement at Istana Merchu, 1927.


The biography went on to describe the relationship between Almarhum and the rakyat of Perak: “His Highness had great love for his subjects and the people – a love which was by no means unreciprocated. In many of his public speeches he said that nothing gave him greater pleasure than to see peoples of different nationality, language and religion, working together, playing together and eating together in perfect harmony, truly and sincerely. He understood the people well and knew what was expected of him not only as Head of his Government but also as Leader of his people.


Cover of the Iskandar Polo Club Golden Anniversary Magazine 1970.


“He had great respect for his religion and the religions of others. In his many speeches, he said, ‘No sin is a sin to a man who has no religion or who has no respect for his religion. The non-existence of Godly fear or conscience makes such a man dangerous because he is prepared to do or undertake any evil deeds if tempted to do so.‘ Besides being God-fearing, he was also law-abiding for he firmly believed that there would be no peace and order unless laws were duly exercised and implemented.

“He was a man of sound principle, simple in many ways, but not without dignity at the right time and in the right place. As a Sovereign Ruler and Leader of his people, he had discharged his duties to the admiration of all irrespective of races or religion. As Head of the Muslim religion in his State he was deeply respected”.

This copy of the Iskandar Polo Club Golden Anniversary Magazine belongs to the family of Allahyarham Raja Dato Badri Shah bin Raja Harun Al Rashid and the biography excerpts were kindly transcribed by Raja Mariam Raja Mohamed Iskandar.

8 thoughts on “Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Shah: an addendum

  1. Assalamualaikum wbt

    Interesting article. However, I need to point out that HM King George VI, when he was the Duke of York, he was never known as Prince George. He was known as Prince Albert. (George is his second name). It is the custom amongst the British Royal Family started from King Edward VII in 1901 when he succeeded Queen Victoria.

    As we all know, the husband of Queen Victoria was Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Their eldest son was also named Prince Albert and later styled Prince of Wales.

    When the Prince of Wales ascended the throne in 1901, he said that “for Britain, there will always be one Albert – my father.” Hence, he took his second name, Edward as his reiging title – King Edward VII.

    Similarly, when King Edward VIII abdicated in December 1936, the instrument of abdication states that Prince Albert the Duke of York will succeed him as King-Emperor. Hence, Prince Albert took his second name, George as his regining title – King George VI.



    • Salam Megat – Long time no see/hear 🙂 We are aware that Albert was his first name, as well as that he was referred to first name when he was Duke of York. Prior to finishing this post, we have searched (probably not wide enough) for an English ‘Prince George’ that lived in the 1920’s (in the same age group as the man standing next to the scoreboard) but to no avail. We, therefore, can only presume that he is the one and the same Albert Frederick Arthur George. We can only presume (again) that the scoreboard was written in error, perhaps by a non-English member of staff at the polo club not well-versed in the appropriate order of writing English names.

      Of course, as they say – “presumption is the mother of all f*** ups”, to put it mildly, we await to stand corrected in this matter.


      • Salam again – I shall eat humble pie as I stand duly corrected, head hung down in shame et cetera et cetera. 😀

        See above correction!


  2. Aaaa..the Duke of Kent….this Prince George died in a plane crash. Muka diorang pun look-alike – Duke of Windsor, Duke of York and Duke of Kent. Only the Duke of Gloucester is a bit chubby compared to those three brothers.

  3. I am the great-grandson of Hon. Mr C.W.C. Parr. My grandmother, Mildred, was born in 1904. She died while a refugee in India from Singapore during the Japanese occupation. My father was 8 at the time but recalls being told that Mrs CWC Parr, his grandmother, died when his mother was very young.
    I would be extremely grateful for any advice on how I may gather any information on Mr & Mrs CWC Parr and in particular, Mr CWC Parr’s career in Malaya.
    With thanks, Chris.

    • Dear Chris – Thank you for your query and I apologise for this somewhat late reply. Unfortunately, our knowledge on Sir Cecil Parr is sketchy at best. As the internet is vast, I can only suggest Google! His full name is Cecil William Chase Parr and that would be a start.

      From my short check on Google (and wikipedia), he was born in 1871, was Resident for Perak from 1921-6, knighted (although wiki only listed that he was appointed CMG, and awarded an OBE), and later died in 1943.

      A clearer photo of him with Almarhum Sultan Iskandar can also be viewed here:

      I’m sorry I can’t be of any further help.

      Best wishes.

      -Mahariz Muzaffar, co-editor

  4. Pingback: A quandary, part 2 – an Istana in Kuala Kangsar, c.1927 | SembangKuala

  5. Pingback: YAM Raja Harun Al Rashid (Raja Kechil Sulong: 1918-1945) | SembangKuala

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