Raja Zainal Azman was the only son of DYAM Raja Sir Chulan ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah II and DYAM Raja Puan Muda Puteh Kelsom binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah I.
He was born in 1903 and was the grandson of both Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah II and Sultan Idris Murshidul Azzam Shah (on his mother’s side). He was educated at the Malay College and was subsequently absorbed into the Malay Administrative Service (MAS).
In 1933, Raja Zainal Azman was appointed Assistant District Officer (ADO) for Selama. He was then made ADO for Raub in Pahang in 1939. Given his remarkable performance, he was appointed Class I officer after six months and transferred to Seremban to assume the post of Acting Deputy Chairman and Secretary of the Sanitary Board. In his later years in the administrative service, Raja Zainal Azman was appointed Coroner for Butterworth before his subsequent appointment as Province Magistrate in 1953.
Raja Zainal Azman was married firstly in 1931 to Tengku Ummul Banin, otherwise known as Tengku Mandak, a daughter of Sultan Amaluddin al-Sani Perkasa Alam Shah of Deli. Later, in 1948, he married Che Zainab binti Abdul Hamid.
After returning from a family holiday in Australia, Raja Zainal Azman was conferred the title of Raja Kechil Bongsu in 1948 by Almarhum Sultan Yussuf Izzudin. Upon the demise of YAM Raja Kechil Sulong Ngah Ali on 12 May 1955, Raja Zainal Azman was promoted Raja Kechil Tengah.
His tenure as the Raja Kechil Tengah was however shortlived as he then died on 16 December 1956 and was buried at Al-Ghufran Royal Mausoleum, Bukit Chandan in Kuala Kangsar.
All photos are courtesy of YM Raja Izzudin Chulan bin Raja Zainal Azman.
1. Arkib Negara Malaysia
2. Perak Honour Conferred. The Straits Times, 31 August 1948.
3. Raja Zainal transferred. The Straits Times, 18 June 1939.
4. Now Class 1. The Straits Times, 23 July 1939.
5. Singapore Free Press & Merchantile Advertisement, 27 February 1931.
6. Melayuonline.com. [Sultanate of Deli].
7. Raja Nur Jannah Raja Hirdan.