Negeri Sembilan State

Negeri Sembilan State

A state steeped in unique traditions and culture, Negeri Sembilan is also famous for its beach resort town of Port Dickson.

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One of the smaller states of Malaysia, Negeri Sembilan is famous for its Minangkabau culture, which centres around a matriarchal social system known as Adat Pepatih. Another thing that sets this state aside is that it is a federation of nine mini-states and that its ruler is still elected by the four main chieftains of the mini-states, as opposed to a direct line of succession in other Malay royal states.

The Minangkabau culture and its influence can be seen throughout the state. It is preserved and displayed at the Seremban Cultural Complex in the state capital of Seremban. Classic Minangkabau architectural designs, which feature upswept roofs, are a common sight at the various cultural and historical sites as well as local villages in the state. Negeri Sembilan offers quite an extensive range of homestay programs to enable visitors to immerse themselves in this unique culture.

Negeri Sembilan's state capital, Seremban, has experienced rapid growth due to its close proximity with Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. Many Malaysians choose to stay in Seremban and commute to the nation's capital daily. During weekends, large crowds throng to the state's most famous attraction, the beach resort town of Port Dickson, for some rest and recreation. With a lovely stretch of white sandy beach, Port Dickson is a very popular destination for locals, even from neighbouring states of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

Negeri Sembilan was a region south of Selangor which was colonised by the Minangkabau people from West Sumatra. In the 18th century, these people fled their homeland, which was part of the Johor Sultanate, after they suffered successive attacks from the Bugis people, who were emboldened by the Sultanate's waning influence in the region.

Local folktales claim that the Minangkabau settled around the areas of Naning, Sungai Ujong and Rembau and organised themselves into nine mini-states. The states were intitially ruled by Raja Melewar under the title of Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan in 1773, after he fought a brief war against his kinsman. His death was to mark the beginning of a time of instability for Negeri Sembilan as there was no clear successor. The many competing parties jockeying for influence supported different candidates, and several brief civil wars were fought during this period.

In the 19th century, the British would use Negeri Sembilan's instability as a way to expand their influence in the Malay Peninsula. Under the pretext of preserving British economic interests, the British intervened in a civil war and imposed the Resident system into local rule. Officially advising the Yang di-Pertuan Besar, the Resident had actual administrative control over the entire state. Negeri Sembilan then became a Federated Malay State in 1897 and was a founding member of the Federation of Malaya in 1948.