Negeri Sembilan – State of Malaysia

Negeri Sembilan is a state in Malaysia which lies on the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It borders Selangor on the north, Pahang in the east, and Melaka and Johor to the south.

The name is believed to derive from the nine (sembilan) villages or nagari in the Minangkabau language (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 of Sultan. The election of the Ruler is also unique. He is selected by the council of Undangs who lead the four biggest territories of Sungai Ujong, Jelebu, Johol, and Rembau, making it one of the more democratic monarchies.

The capital of Negeri Sembilan is Seremban. The royal capital is Seri Menanti in Kuala Pilah District. Other important towns are Port Dickson, Bahau and Nilai.

The Arabic honorific title of the state is Darul Khusus (“the Special Abode”).


The earliest inhabitants of Negeri Sembilan were the ancestors of the Semelai, Semai, Semang, and Jakun peoples, who lived either as hunter-gatherer nomads or as subsistence farmers.

The Minangkabaus from Sumatra settled in Negeri Sembilan in the 15th century (the 1400s) under the protection of the Malacca Sultanate, and later under the protection of its successor, the Sultanate of Johor. They also brought their matrilineal custom with them and made it a majority, and the Linggi River was used as a main trade route since the time of the Malacca Sultanate.

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 Yamtuan Seri Menanti (He Who is Highest Lord of the Seri Menanti) 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, Klang to Selangor, and Segamat to Johor.

Negeri Sembilan endured Japanese occupation in World War II between 1942 and 1945, joined the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and became a state of Malaysia in 1963.

Population and demographics

Negeri Sembilan have seven districts.

Rank Districts Seat Population 2015
1 Seremban Seremban 620,100
2 Port Dickson Port Dickson 119,300
3 Jempol Bandar Seri Jempol 115,600
4 Tampin Tampin 90,200
5 Kuala Pilah Kuala Pilah 67,100
6 Rembau Rembau 45,900
7 Jelebu Kuala Klawang 40,300
Total Population 1,098,500

Negeri Sembilan has a collective population of 1,098,500 as of 2015; the ethnic composition consisting of Malay 56.6% (mostly are Minangkabau descent), other Bumiputras 20,700 (1.9%), Chinese 234,300 (21.3%), Indian 154,000 (14%), Others 4,200 (0.4%), and Non Citizens 63,300 (5.8%). The state has the highest percentage of Indians when compared to other Malaysian states.


The state comprises 7 districts:

  1. Seremban
  2. Port Dickson
  3. Rembau
  4. Jelebu
  5. Kuala Pilah
  6. Jempol
  7. Tampin

It originally consisted of 9 districts:

  • Jelai (Inas)
  • Jelebu
  • Johol
  • Klang(city) (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)

List of local authorities

There are 8 local authorities in Negeri Sembilan, namely:

  1. Majlis Perbandaran Seremban (MPS)
  2. Majlis Perbandaran Nilai (MPN)
  3. Majlis Perbandaran Port Dickson (MPPD)
  4. Majlis Daerah Jelebu (MDJ)
  5. Majlis Daerah Jempol (MJL)
  6. Majlis Daerah Kuala Pilah (MDKP)
  7. Majlis Daerah Rembau (MDR)
  8. Majlis Daerah Tampin (MDT)
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Dato' is a traditional Malay honorific title commonly used in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Its variant is Datuk.