Tun Ali of Pahang

Tun Ali
تون علي
Raja Bendahara of Pahang
Reign 18061857
Predecessor Tun Koris
Successor Tun Mutahir
Born 1782
Died October 1857
Burial Royal Cemetery, Kuala Pahang
House Bendahara
Father Tun Koris
Religion Sunni Islam

Sri Paduka Tun ‘Ali ibni al-Marhum Dato’ Bendahara Paduka Raja Tun Koris also known as Dato’ Bendahara Sri Wak Raja, was the 22nd and the last Bendahara of Johor Empire, and the fourth Raja Bendahara of Pahang who reigned from 1806 to 1857.[1]

In 1853, Tun Ali declared his autonomy from the empire, paving the way for an independent Pahang, after two centuries of union with the crown of Johor. He was able to maintain peace and stability during his reign, but his death in 1857 precipitated civil war between his sons.[2]


Tun Ali is the second son of the 21st Bendahara of Johor Tun Koris who succeeded on the death of his father and installed by Sultan Mahmud Shah III in 1806. He was about 25 years of age at the time of his accession.[3]

The Johor Empire at that time was approaching its dismemberment, with Sultan's power effectively reduced to the capital in Daik, Lingga. While the rest of the empire was administered by three powerful ministers, the Bendahara in Pahang, the Temenggong in Johor and Singapore, and the Yamtuan Muda in Riau.[4]

Succession dispute and the two Sultans

In January 1812, Mahmud Shah III died leaving two sons Tengku Hussein and Tengku Abdul Rahman. The Bugis Yamtuan Muda supported the claim of Abdul Rahman to the Sultanate, and succeeded in having him proclaimed ruler at Mahmud's grave-side.[5]

Hussein acquiesced in his brother's elevation to the throne, and betook himself to Pahang where he enlisted the support of Bendahara Tun Ali who, with Hussein's step-mother Tengku Puteri Hamidah of Pulau Penyengat, in whose custody was the regalia of the Johor Empire, assembled forces to attack Abdul Rahman. The Yamtuan Muda, alarmed at the war-like preparations, made a complaint to the Resident of Malacca, and Adrian Koek was sent to warn the Bendahara that intervention in Lingga would give offence to the British Empire, so Tun Ali took his forces, which had been mobilized at Bulang, back to Pahang.[6]

The British, after the restoration of Malacca to the Dutch in 1818, sought a station to off-set their European rivals in Malay peninsula. In 1819, Stamford Raffles induced Hussein to conclude a treaty, to which the Temenggong of Johor was also a signatory, ceding Singapore to British. In return, Raffles would install Hussein as Sultan of Johor. According to Hikayat Johor serta Pahang, Raffles desired to make Temenggong Abdul Rahman as Sultan, but this potentate demurred: "I cannot be made ruler because I am only the third; first comes my elder brother in Pahang, second is the Yamtuan Muda at Riau, and their sovereign is at Daik."[7]

On the Temenggong's suggestion, Tengku Hussein was summoned to Singapore and installed Sultan. The Temenggong then wrote to the Bendahara explaining what had happened. Tun Ali replied that he did not propose to take any part in the proceedings, that his allegiance maintained to Daik, and that, as far as Pahang affairs were concerned, he would ignore the new Sultan in Singapore and refer to Daik.[8]

Bendahara Tun Ali further wrote a letter to Jan Samuel Timmermann Thijssen, Governor of Malacca, expressing his amazement that the inscrutable creator had parted brother from brother, father from son, and friend from friend, and declaring the cryptic intention of being a friend to the friends of the Sultan of Johor. The seal used by the diplomatic Tun Ali described him as the representative of Mahmud Shah III]], now deceased, a description that would offend nobody. In the same year, the Bendahara refused to allow British to hoist the Union Jack in his country, and assured Sultan Abdul Rahman of his allegiance, but he was soon to acknowledge Hussein. In 1821, Abdul Rahman with his son Tengku Besar Muhamad, visited Pahang whence Bendahara Tun Ali escorted his sovereign to Terengganu.[9]

Jan Samuel Timmermann Thijssen, the Dutch Governor of Malacca, took the regalia of the Johor Empire by force from Tengku Puteri Hamidah at Pulau Penyengat in October 1822. Sultan Abdul Rahman, after his return from Pahang and Terengganu about the same time invested with the regalia at Lingga. The Bendahara appointed the Yamtuan Muda to represent him at the Sultan's investiture.[10]

Anglo-Dutch Treaty

On March 17, 1824, the Dutch and the British concluded the Anglo-Dutch Treaty, whereby it was agreed that Singapore and the Peninsula should be the British sphere of influence, while the Dutch confined themselves to the islands south of Singapore.[11]

The signing of the Treaty further undermined the cohesion of the Johor-Pahang-Riau-Lingga empire and contributed to the emergence of Pahang and Johor as independent states. The empire became irrevocably divided when a succession dispute gave rise to two centres of power, one in Riau-Lingga (under Abdul Rahman Muazzam Shah, r. 1812-1832) and the other in Johor mainland (under Hussein Shah, r.1819-1835).[12]

Visit to the capital

Sultan Abdul Rahman died in 1832 and was succeeded by his son, Tengku Besar, who was entitled Sultan Muhammad Shah. The new ruler visited Pahang, and too Bendahara Tun Ali to Lingga for the circumcision and installation of his son Tengku Besar Mahmud. The Hikayat Pahang describes the Pahang's magnate visit in details. He brought a great following, prominent among whom were his two chief hulubalang, Dato' Parit, a chief of Bukit Sagumpal, and Dato' Tanggok Bingkal Tembaga. On his arrival, he went into the Sultan's presence and uttered the sayings prescribed by custom and the syaria law on such occasions; and the ruler commanded that Lingga should be temporarily under the Bendahara in accordance with custom. With Tun Ali, were present the Yamtuan Muda, the Temenggong, and other chiefs.[13]

After the installation of Tengku Besar Mahmud was duly accomplished, Tun Mutahir, eldest son of Bendahara Tun Ali, was made Engku Muda, and married Tengku Chik, the Sultan's daughter. Soon after the Pahang potentate and his people returned to their country.[14]

On May 23, 1836, Che Lingga wife of Bendahara Tun Ali gave birth to a son Tun Ahmad, for whom an Arab merchant, Habib Abdullah ibni Omar Al-Attas, foretold a great future. Tun Ahmad was his father's most dearly beloved son and a favourite with the people.[15]


Bendahara Tun Ali, in appearance was a short, dark thick-set man, was a kindly disposition, and popular with his subjects. He enjoyed the advantage, inestimable in old Malay States, of having no surviving uncles, and only one brother, Muhammad with whom he lived in friendly terms, and so had no intrigues to counter. He maintained amicable relations with the Straits Government, and availed himself of the trade facilities with Singapore. He exterminated a Bugis piratical settlement, which had become established at Keratong in the river Rompin. As a senior potentate of the Johor Empire, he had taken a major part in the installation of the Sultan, but there were no longer any practical calls upon the ancient loyalty as the Anglo-Dutch Treaty, and the creation of separate Sultans of Singapore and of Lingga had, in effect, dismembered the Malay state. Unendangered by potential rivals, he was in position effectively to control his chiefs over whom he ruled in the name of the Sultan, and as the sovereign's fully accredited representative.[16]

Tun Ali's four senior nobles were Orang Kaya Indera Maharaja Perba of Jelai, the Orang Kaya Indera Segara of Temerloh, the Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan of Chenor, and the Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar.[17] The Shahbandar, living near Pekan, tended to become one of the Raja Bendahara's ministers. Tun Ali's chief minister was his son in law Saiyid Omar or Engku Saiyid. At that time in Pahang, there were a Mufti and a Chief Qadi, Tuan Haji Abdul Shukor and Tuan Senggang as well as many religious teachers of minor degree. On daily basis, they interviewed the Raja Bendahara and expounded to him the precepts of Islam.[18]

Tun Ali's another son, Tun Buang (Wan Ismail), was made Engku Panglima Besar, a title date at least as far back as the early part of the 17th century. His grandson, Tun Long (Wan Koris), eldest son of Tun Mutahir was made Panglima Perang, another grandson Tun Aman (Wan Abdul Rahman, second son of Tun Mutahir) of Kampung Masjid, and Wan Sulaiman, husband of Che Engku Teh (a daughter of Tun Muhammad) were ranked as Menteri.[19]


Peace and prosperity reigned in Pahang under Tun Ali's rule. 20 gantang of rice cost only one dollar, and other food stuff were equally cheap. Many people became rich and there was a great trade in gold. Pahang, with the exception of the rich tin-producing region of the river Kuantan which was kept as a private reserve by the Raja Bendahara, was free from import and export duties.[20]

Tampang, tin ingot money of ancient Malaya, survived as currency in Pahang until 1893. In their original form, tampang were solid slabs of tin, valued at their tin content, and were used as medium of exchange in Melaka Sultanate. The Portuguese suppressed all Malay currency when they conquered Melaka in 1511, but this form of coinage persisted in some of the outlying Malay states, particularly Pahang and Selangor. During Tun Ali's reign, the solid tin slabs began to be replaced by hollowed, inscribed pieces, still approximating in appearance to the original tampang, though their intrinsic value bore little relation to their nominal worth. By 1847, tin ingot money of the nominal value of one cent was being produced. The monopoly of minting ingot-money was granted to Chinese who were permitted to mint only four times a year, and up to a certain value. There were mints at Kuantan, Lepar, Temerloh and Pekan.[21]

Declaration of Independence

Despite ruling Pahang as an independent fief, Tun Ali still recognised the Sultan that resided in Daik, Lingga, now under Dutch control, as his overlord. In 1844, in a warrant issued to the headman (Jenang) of the aboriginal tribes (suku biduanda) in the region of the river Anak Endau, Tun Ali described himself as "The representative of Sultan Mahmud Shah V, Dato' Bendahara Sri Wak Raja, son of the Bendahara Paduka Raja, Date 1221 (AH)".[22]

The Bendahara ruled nominally as vice-regents up to 1853. In that year, it appeared, Bendahara Tun Ali declared himself an independent ruler of Pahang, but the friction of the suzerainty of the old royal family continued in Pahang up until 1864.[23][24]

Retirement and death

Long before his death in 1857, Tun Ali had retired from active participation in the government of the state, and removed his residence to Lami on the river of Pahang where he spent his declining years in a vain endeavour to effect a reconciliation between his turbulent sons. On his retirement he had handed over the government to his eldest son Tun Mutahir. The heir took up his residence at Ganchong, hence the origin of the name Bendahara Ganchong by which he came to be known.[25]

Tun Ali died in October 1857, and buried at the Royal Cemetery, Kuala Pahang, having had issue, five sons and six daughters.[26] Tun Ali's death was followed by the succession dispute among his sons Tun Mutahir and Tun Ahmad, that later escalated into a full scale civil war.



Tun Ali of Pahang
Bendahara Dynasty
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Tun Koris
Raja Bendahara of Pahang
Succeeded by
Tun Mutahir
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 1/14/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.