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.
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.”
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.
“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.