Khairy Jamaluddin’s hometown of Negeri Sembilan is one of the more unique states on the Malay peninsula; not only do they not have a Sultan (they have a Yang di-Pertuan Besar), they’ve also got a matrilineal (inheritance favors the female line) social custom, known as Adat Perpatih. Oh, and of course, they make some pretty good masak lemak dishes, heavily influenced by Minangkabau culture.
And when it comes to Negeri Sembilan, as its name implies, 9 is the magic number.
The name ‘Negeri Sembilan’ comes from the 9 chiefdoms that made up the original state
Originally home to various Orang Asli tribes, Negeri Sembilan received an influx of Sumatran Minangkabau settlers from Sumatra in the 15th century. When Raja Melewar took the throne from the then-monarch Raja Khatib, Negeri Sembilan was simply a loose confederation of nine luaks (chiefdoms), namely Sungai Ujong, Jelebu, Rembau, Johol, Jelai, Ulu Pahang, Naning, Segamat, and Klang. These were united as one under the reign of Raja Melewar in 1773, giving the state the name Negeri Sembilan.
Eventually, four of those chiefdoms were annexed into neighbouring states: Naning to Melaka, Ulu Pahang to Bera in Pahang, Segamat to Johor, and Klang to Kuala Langat in Selangor. Negeri Sembilan as we know it today is now a much smaller version with 7 districts, despite retaining the name. And that’s their (heavily simplified) origin story.
If you want to discover more interesting origins of our states’ names, pick one from the list below!