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Negri Sembilan

NEGRI SEMBILAN (the Nine States) is a federation of small native states which is now treated as a single entity, being under the control of a British Resident, and is situated between parallels 2 28' and 3 18' N. and 101 45' and 102 45' E., on the western side of the Malay Peninsula. It is bounded on the N. by the protected state of Pahang, on the S. by the territory of Malacca, on the E. by Pahang and the independent state of johor, and on the W. by the Straits of Malacca. The coast-line is about 28 m. in length, and the extreme distance from north to south is 55 m., and that from east to west about 65 m. The estimated area is about 3000 sq. m. Port Dickson, or Arang-Arang, is the only port on the coast. It is connected with the capital, Seremban, by a railway 24 m. in length. Most of the states comprising the federation depend largely for their prosperity upon agriculture, but in some of the districts tin is being worked in considerable quantities, with good results. , As is the case with the history of most Malayan states, much rests upon no surer ground than tradition, in so far as the records of the Negri Sembilan are concerned. At the same time . . the native story that the states which now form the federation of the Negri Sembilan were originally peopled by tribes of Sakai, or aborigines of the peninsula, who descended from the mountains of the interior and peopled the valleys, is supported by much corroborative evidence. Not only does the Malay's contempt for the Sakai make it exceedingly unlikely that the tradition, which is hardly a matter for pride, should have been preserved if it were not true, but also many of the laws and customs in force in these states are wholly foreign to those of the Malays, and can plainly be traced to the aborigines. As an instance, the custom of inheriting rank and property through the mother instead of through the father may be mentioned. Tradition further relates that towards the end of the 18th century a raja of the royal house of Menangkabu came from Sumatra to rule over the federation of smajl states, each of which :ontinued to be governed in all its local affairs by its own chief and by the village and other councils sanctioned by ancient custom. The Sumatran raja took the title of lang-di-per-Tuan of Sri Menanti. Although they bore the name of the " Nine States," only six seem to have belonged to the federation during the time of which history speaks. These are Sri Menanti, Johol, Tampin, Rembau, Jelebu, and Sungei Ujong. Later the two latter separated themselves from the confederation. Ancient tradition says that the names of the nine states were originally Klang, Jelebu, Sungei Ujong, Johol, Segamat, Pasir Besar, Naning, Rembau and Jelai. Of these Klang was annexed by Selangor, Segamat and Pasir Besar by Johor, and Naning by Malacca. During the last years of the 18th century the lang-di-per-Tuan appointed an lang-di-per-Tuan Muda to rule Rembau, and the state of Tampin was created to provide for the "amily of the new chief. In 1887 the governor of the Straits Settlenents sent Mr Martin Lister to the Negri Sembilan, which had jecome disintegrated, and by his influence the ancient federal system was revived under the control of a Resident appointed by the governor. The states which formed this new confederation vere Johol, Ulu Muar, Jempol,Terachi,Inas,Gunong Pasir, Rembau, fampin and Gemencheh. Prior to this, in 1873, owing to a civil war in Sungei Ujong, Sir Andrew Clarke sent a military force to that state, put an end to the disturbances, and placed the country undiT the control of a British Resident. Jelebu was taken under British protection in 1886, and was thenceforth managed by a magistrate under the orders of the Resident of Sungei Ujong. In 1896, when the federation of all the Malayan states under British control was effected, Sungei Ujong and Jelebu were reunited to the confederation of small states from which they had so long been separated and the whole, under the old name of the Negri Sembilan, or Nine States, was placed under one Resident.

The population of the Negri Sembilan, which according to the census taken in April 1891 was only 70,730, had increased to 96,028 by 1901, and was estimated at 119,454 m I 95- Of these 46,500 are Chinese, 65,000 Malays, 6700 Tamils, and 900 Europeans and Eurasians. The births registered slightly exceed the deaths in number, there being a large Malay population in the Negri Sembilan among whom the proportion of women to men is fair, a condition of things not found in localities where the inhabitants are mostly Chiiu-se immigrants.

The revenue of the Negri Sembilan amounted to only $223,435 in 1888. In 1898 it had increased to $701,334, in 1900 to $1,251,366, Finance and in I9 5 to $ 2 '335-534- The revenue for 1905 was and Trade derived mainly as follows: customs $1,268,602, land revenue $145,475, land sales $21,407, while the revenue farms contributed $584,459. The expenditure in 1905 amounted to $2,214,093, of which $1,125,355 was expended upon public works. The trade returns for 1905, which are not, however, complete, show an aggregate value of about $13,000,000. The value of the tin exported during 1905 exceeded $6,900,000, and the value of the agricultural produce, of which gambier represented $211,000 and damar $80,000, amounted to $407,990.

Seremban, the administrative capital of the Negri Sembilan, is connected with Port Dickson by a railway line, owned by the General Sungei Ujong Railway Company, which is 24$ m. in length. It is also situated on the trunk line of the Federated Malay States, and is thus joined by rail to Selangor on the north and to Malacca on the south. Frequent steam communication is maintained between Port Dickson and the ports on the Straits of Malacca and with Singapore.

For administrative purposes the Negri Sembilan is divided into five districts, viz. the Seremban District, the Coast District, Jelebu, Kuala Pilah and Tampin. Each of these is under the charge of a European district officer, who is responsible to the Resident. The lang-di-per-Tuan lives at Kuala Pilah, but the capital of the federation is at Seremban in Sungei Ujong, where the Resident is stationed. The hereditary chiefs of the various states aid in the government of their districts, and have seats upon the state council, over which the lang-di-per-Tuan presides. The watering-place of Magnolia Bay, where excellent sea-bathing is obtainable, is one of the pleasure resorts of this part of the peninsula.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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