Tribute To Tuanku Ja’afar
The Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Ja’afar Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman, who died today at the age of 86, was a ruler who was loved by the people, more so for his wisdom, sincerity and dedication.
Tuanku Ja’afar, who was installed as the 10th Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan and ruled for 40 years, died at 11.45am today at the Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital in Seremban after he was rushed there following complaints of headache and discomfort.
As a ruler, Tuanku Ja’afar was most respected by the other Malay rulers as well as leaders in the country and abroad.
The late ruler, who served as the 10th Yang di-Pertuan Agong from April 26 1994 to April 25 1999, was born in Klang, Selangor, on July 19 1922 and was the second prince of the late Tuanku Abdul Rahman Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Muhammad, the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
As the Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Ja’afar focused much of his attention on resolving the people’s problems and in the administration of the state.
In the socio-economic field, he had asked for attention to be given to the industrial and public housing sectors so as to improve the living standard of the people.
As a result, several housing estates were developed, among them Taman Tuanku Ja’afar which encompasses an industrial site and a golf course, Taman Tuanku Ampuan Najihah in Sungai Gadut, and the Mambau housing project.
Tuanku Ja’afar had had his early education at the Sekolah Melayu Seri Menanti in Kuala Pilah between 1928 and 1933 and furthered his studies at the Malay College in Kuala Kangsar from 1933 to 1944 where he was the head boy in 1939-1940.
He then pursued further studies at the Raffles College in Singapore from 1941 but his education was interrupted by the Second World War.
During the Japanese Occupation of then Malaya, he served as an officer at the Seremban Land Office and in 1946 and 1947 he served as the assistant district officer in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan.
Tuanku Ja’afar has also served as assistant state secretary in Perak and as the Tampin district officer in Negeri Sembilan.
His interest in acquiring knowledge prompted him to continue with his studies disrupted by the Second World War, enabling him to obtain a law degree from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom in 1951.
While in Britain, he took the opportunity to attend several courses such as an administration course at the Oxford Balliol College and economics and diplomacy courses at Oxford University.
For his dynamism and broad-mindedness, Tuanku Ja’afar was entrusted with several important tasks abroad, including as the charge d’affaires in Washington, D.C., United States, and as first secretary with the then Malayan permanent mission to the United Nations in New York in 1957 and 1958.
He also served as the deputy high commissioner at the High Commission of Malaya in London between 1958 and 1962.
He was appointed the Malaysian ambassador to Egypt from 1963 to 1965 and as high commissioner to Nigeria and Ghana from 1965 to 1967.
Tuanku Ja’afar became the chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia on April 16 1976 and had often called for an improvement to the standard of education in the country.
He was conferred the honorary doctorate in law by several universities, including the University of the Philippines (on July 27 1990), the University of Nottingham (July 21 1995), the University of Santiago, Chile (Sept 28 1995) and the University of Brunei Darussalam (Sept 11 1996).
Tuanku Ja’afar was bestowed the World Peace Award by the Sri Chinmoy Centre International on Dec 11 2005 in recognition of his contribution to the development of education, public service, sports and promoting Negeri Sembilan and Malaysia in the international arena. The award was presented to him by Sri Chinmoy himself.
Tuanku Ja’afar and the royal family of Negeri Sembilan are known as the “Royal Family of Sports” for having shown great interest in cricket, tennis, badminton, squash, hockey and golf, both in the country and abroad.
Tuanku Ja’afar leaves behind consort Tuanku Ampuan Najihah Al-Marhum Tunku Besar Burhanuddin and three princes and princesses — Tunku Dara Naquiah, Tunku Laxamana Tunku Naquiyuddin, Tunku Imran, Tunku Jawahir, Tunku Irinah and Tunku Putera Nadzaruddin.
The remains of Tuanku Ja’afar will be placed at the Istana Besar Seri Menanti in Kuala Pilah for the lying-in-state before being laid to rest after the “asar” prayers on Monday
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