In Malay culture, a Monarch is interpreted as a symbol of unity and protection for its subjects. During the 15th to 16th century, Negeri Sembilan was under the rule of Malay Kingdom of Malacca up until the defeat of Sultan Mahmud Shah to the Portuguese on 24th August 1511. The emergence of the Malay Kingdom of Johor in the 17th century puts Negeri Sembilan as a territory under it as in its customary clarification:

Beraja di Johor,

Bertali ke Siak,

Bertuan ke Minangkabau

Eventhough Negeri Sembilan was under Johor rule at the time, the regions or Luak are governed by their respective Penghulu with the aid of Lembaga and Buapak. It can be said that the government at the time conforms to the tier system.

Meanwhile, the administration system from the top to bottom includes the Monarch, Penghulu, Lembaga and Buapak. The Buapak has subordinates that execute their ruling as stated in their customs:

‘Berjenjang naik,

bertangga turun’

During the 18th century, the Johor Monarch, Sultan Abdul Jalil III was unable to govern his regions suitably due to the aggravation caused by the Portuguese and Malacca as well as attacks from the Acheh and Bugis people. As the central monarchy is in disarray which resulted in chaos in Negeri Sembilan, a convoy of the Bugis prince led by Daeng Kemboja forced the people of Negeri Sembilan to pronounce him King. The people then decided to ask the help of a prince to counter Daeng Kemboja.

As the Johor Monarch was unable to help, the keeper of customs and Undang Yang Empat (the four dignitaries) asked the consent of the Johor Monarch to invite a Monarch from Pagar Ruyong. The Monarch agreed and thus a convoy that was led by Panglima Bandan and Panglima Bandut was dispatched.



Yang di-Pertuan Pagar Ruyong agreed to the wishes of the people of Negeri Sembilan. The Monarch sent his prince, Raja Mahmud which was later called Raja Melewar. Before the arrival of Raja Melewar to negeri Sembilan, Yang di-Pertuan Pagar Ruyong sent Raja Khatib to prepare for his son’s arrival. Raja Melewar that was escorted by his bravest warriors visited the Johor Monarch before entering Negeri Sembilan via Naning. After defeating Daeng Kemboja in Naning, he entered Rembau and was crowned by the Penghulu Luak at Kampung Penajis, Rembau as stated below:

Tanah Kerjan (Kerajaan) di Penajis

Tanah Mengandung di Seri Menanti,

Balai Melintang di Sungai Ujong,

Balai Bertingkat di Johol,

Yang mengatur Bilangan Adat di Jelebu,

Yang mengukurkan di Rembau.

After Raja Melewar got word that Raja Khatib declared himself king in Seri Menanti, he rushed there via bukit putus to expose the lie. In the civil war that ensued, Raja Khatib fled the scene and Dato’ Penghulu Naan was beheaded. Finally, Raja Melewar was crowned the first ever Yamtuan in the history Negeri Sembilan. Thus, he was a pioneer of the royal lineage from Pagar Ruyong.

Prior to British rule, each Undang was the ruler of their respective Luak, and the Yang di-Pertuan Besar or simply Yamtuan only reigned in Seri Menanti. However, chaos reigned and it forced the British to intervene. The intervention enabled them to appoint a British Resident as an advisor in administration and make state regulations.