Negeri Sembilan, one of the 13 states that constitutes Malaysia, lies on the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, just south of Kuala Lumpur and borders Selangor on the north, Pahang in the east, and Malacca and Johor to the south.
The name is believed to derive from the nine districts or negara (now known as luak) settled by the Minangkabau, a people originally from West Sumatra (in present-day Indonesia). Minangkabau features are still visible today in traditional architecture and the dialect of Malay spoken.
Unlike the hereditary monarchs of the other royal Malay states, the ruler of Negeri Sembilan is known as Yang di-Pertuan Besar instead ofSultan. The election of the Ruler is also unique. He is selected by the council of Undangs who lead the four biggest districts of Sungai Ujong, Jelebu, Johol, and Rembau, making it one of the more democratic monarchies.
The Arabic honorific title of the state is Darul Khusus ("the Special Abode").
The Minangkabaus from Sumatra settled in Negeri Sembilan in the 15th century under the protection of the Malacca Sultanate, and later under the protection of its successor, the Sultanate of Johor. As Johor weakened in the 18th century, attacks by the Bugis forced the Minangkabaus to seek protection from their homeland. The Minangkabau ruler, Sultan Abdul Jalil, obliged by sending his near relative,Raja Melewar. When he arrived, he found that another royal, Raja Khatib had already established himself as ruler. He declared war against Raja Khatib and became the ruler of Negeri Sembilan. The Sultan of Johor confirmed his position by granting the title Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan (He Who is Highest Lord of the Nine States) in 1773. After Raja Melewar's death, a series of disputes arose over the succession. For a considerable period, the local nobles applied to the Minangkabau ruler in Sumatra for a ruler. However, competing interests supported different candidates, often resulting in instability and civil war.
In 1873, the British intervened militarily in a civil war in Sungai Ujong to preserve British economic interests, and placed the country under the control of a British Resident. Jelebu followed in 1886, and the remaining states in 1895. In 1897, when the Federated Malay States(FMS) was established, Sungai Ujong and Jelebu were reunited to the confederation of small states and the whole, under the old name of the Negeri Sembilan, was placed under a single Resident and became a member of the FMS.
The number of states within Negeri Sembilan has fluctuated over the years, the federation now consists of six states and a number of sub-states under their suzerainty. The former state of Naning was annexed to Malacca, Kelang to Selangor, and Segamat to Johor.
Government and politics
The Constitution of Negeri Sembilan came into force on 26 March 1959. It is divided into two sections. The constitution establishes that the state's form of government is constitutional monarchy.
The official constitutional title of the Ruler of the state is Duli Yang Maha Mulia Yang di-Pertua Besar Negeri Sembilan and he holds office for life. The state's constitution proclaims the Yang di-Pertuan Besar is vested with the Executive Power of the state, is the Head of the Religion of Islam in the state and is the fountain of all honour and dignity for the state. The current Yang di-Pertuan Besar is His Royal Highness Tuanku Muhriz ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir. His Royal Highness succeeds Almarhum Tuanku Jaafar Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman who died on 27 December 2008.
Unlike Malaysia's eight other Royal Malay states, the Ruler of Negeri Sembilan is elected to his office by the territorial chiefs of the state. These chiefs are titled Undang. Only four of the Undangs have the right to vote in the election for the Ruler of the State. They are:
- The Undang of Sungai Ujong
- The Undang of Jelebu
- The Undang of Johol
- The Undang of Rembau
The Undang themselves cannot stand for election and their choice of ruler is limited to a male Muslim who is Malay and also a "lawfully begotten descendant of Raja Radin ibni Raja Lenggang".
State Executive Council
The State Executive Council is established by the 1959 constitution. It consists of the Menteri Besar, who is its Chairman, and ten other members. The Menteri Besar and the other members of the council are appointed by the Yang Di-Pertuan Besar from the members of the State Assembly. The current Menteri Besar or Chief Minister of the state is Dato' Seri Utama Muhammad Hassan.
The state's manufacturing sector contributing almost half of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP), followed by services and tourism (40.3%), agriculture (6%), construction (2.2%) and mining (0.3%). Manufacturing activity includes electrical and electronics, textiles, furniture, chemicals, machinery, metal works and rubber products. The main industrial areas areSenawang, Sungai Gadut, Tuanku Jaafar Industrial Park, Nilai and Tanah Merah in Port Dickson. Coca-Cola, which is in the midst of setting up its billion ringgit bottling plant in Bandar Enstek.
Negeri Sembilan is mainly an agricultural state. However, the establishment of several industrial estates enhanced the manufacturing sector as a major contributor towards the state economy.
The state comprises 7 districts :
It originally consisted of 9 districts : - Jelai (Inas) - Jelebu - Johol - Kelang (now a district in Selangor) - Naning (now a district in Malacca) - Rembau - Segamat (now in Johor) / Pasir Besar (now in Tampin) - Sungai Ujong - Alu Panah (now divided between Jelebu and Pahang State)