Tribute to Abdul Rahman Andak

I’m in Johor Bahru today. I am in the city where my in laws live and where I got married almost twelve years ago (Yes, I read the oath of ‘taqliq’ in Jawi!). I am in the city where my father grew up and spend a great deal of time during his adolescence. I am in the city where UMNO charter was declared on 11 May 1946 at the Istana Besar. I am in my most favourite city!

The journey into the city, I drove getting off at Skudai interchange, through the old Skudai-Johor Bahru road. We then had Mee Rebus Hj. Wahid, at Plaza Angsana. A must, whenever I am in Johor Bahru.


Then soon afterwards, we proceeded to the hotel. On the way, I showed a close friend of mine places of interests like Istana Bukit Serene, Danga Bay, Masjid Sultan Abu Bakar, Ungku Aminah Hospital, Istana Besar, Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim, Johor Bahru City Centre and the largest white elephant in the country, the new CIQ at Gerbang Perdana project. The building is now redundant because the Scenic Bridge project was canceled by the Prime Minister, March 2006.


On the way, I was explaining to my friend about Dato’ Abdul Rahman Andak. He was born in 1850 and received education in England whilst accompanying Ungku Othman, a nephew of the Sultan of Johor in 1871. He came back to Johor in 1878 and assume the position of what it is today the Assistant Director in the Secretary of State’s Office.

He was a commoner, who rose successfully in the Johor Civil Service and single handedly created landmark in the history of Malaya when he drafted the Johor Constitution, the first amongst Malay states and came into effect on 14 April 1894. Earlier, as the Assistant Secretary of State, he persuaded His Majesty Maharaja Abu Bakar, the Sultan of Johor to enter a treaty with the Governor Sir Fredderick Weld, representing the British. It became a protection for Johor against British colonialisation. He was bestowed the title “Dato’ Seri Amar DiRaja”.


The Johor Constitution became the fundamental reference for the other states’ constitutions, there onwards. As the Sate Secretary, he also put in place a very structured civil service system, which still being practiced till present day and an envy by the other states’ civil service .

During the launching of South Johor Economic Region on 4 November 2007, His Majesty Sultan Iskandar, Sultan of Johor said the area should be named for “Rahman Andak Development Region”, instead of Iskandar Development Region. His Majesty breached protocol to say that Dato’ Abdul Rahman Andak did so much for the state and protected the state from British Colonialisation.

This is taken from Wikipedia ( about Dato’ Abdul Rahman Andak

Abdul Rahman bin Andak yang bergelar Datuk Seri Amar Diraja adalah pembesar yang sangat pintar di Johor. Bapa beliau ialah Haji Andak bin Haji Jamak manakala adiknya Tan Sri Taib Andak. Beliau telah mendapat pendidikan British. Oleh itu, beliau mempunyai hubungan yang rapat dengan pegawai British dan pedagang asing di Johor.

Tugas utama yang dilakukan oleh Datuk Seri Amar Diraja ini adalah mengawal hubungan yang dijalankan di antara kerajaan Johor dengan pihak British. Tugas yang dilakukan sememangnya amat berat. Beliau harus menentukan agar hubungan berjalan dengan seimbang. Dengan begitu, British tidak dapat mengambil kesempatan untuk menguasai dan menjajah negeri Johor. Beliau telah menjalankan tugasnya dengan baik sehingga terdapat pihak British yang amat tidak menyukainya kerana sikapnya yang tegas terhadapa mereka.

Dato’ Abdul Rahman Andak adalah anak Johor yang pertama melanjutkan pelajaran di England dalam tahun 1870’an. Abdul Rahman memulakan kerjayanya dalam JCS dan berakhir dengan jawatan Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri. Dalam menyelamatkan Johor dari terperangkap dengan muslihat penjajah Inggeris, Abdul Rahman selaku Penasihat Sultan bertanggungjawab menasihat Sultan Abu Bakar menandatangani teriti persahabatan dengan British dalam tahun 1885, Perlembagaan Negeri Johor 1895 dan menyekat percubaan Inggeris melantik Penasihat Am Inggeris. Inggeris mendapati selagi ada Abdul Rahman Andak mereka sukar menguasai Johor. Oleh itu Sultan Ibrahim telah dipengaruhi untuk menamatkan perkhidmatan Dato’Sri Amar DiRaja dan di’amankan’ di England dalam tahun 1909. Keadaan ini membolehkan Inggeris bertapak di Johor dalam tahun 1909 dan menguasai Johor mulai 1914.

Pada tahun 1888 satu pertubuhan yang dinamakan Pakatan Belajar Mengajar Pengetahuan Bahasa ditubuhkan oleh Muhammad Ibrahim Munsyi . Tujuannya adalah untuk mengkaji dan mempelajari bahasa Melayu agar pengetahuan bahasa Melayu itu lebih mudah disebarkan kepada orang Melayu. Usaha yang utama organisasi ini ialah menterjemahkan istilah atau perkataan daripada bahasa Inggeris ke dalam bahasa Melayu. Beberapa perkataan yang dicipta ketika itu dan kekal hingga sekarang adalah seperti : setiausaha, pejabat, dan kerja raya.

Pada tahun 1934 nama pertubuhan ini ditukar kepada Pakatan Bahasa Melayu dan Persuratan Buku-buku Di-Raja. Pertubuhan ini dipimpin oleh Dato’ Abdul Rahman bin Andak.


As the Johor Secretary of State, Dato’ Abdul Rahman Andak criticized the Johor Advisory Council in 1905, which led to all the members resigned. The British used this to instigate His Majesty the Sultan of Johor. Dato’ Abdul Rahman Andak fell out out favour from His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim as the British, through Governor Anderson had instigated His Majesty further that Rahman were an obstacle to Johor-British relations. His Majesty then ‘retired’ Rahman with an annual pension of a thousand sterling pounds and he went to ‘exile’ in England in 1914. His position was filled with a British Officer name D. C. Campbell and it became the beginning of British direct influence in the Johor Government administration.

Dato’ Abdul Rahman Andak passed away in London and was buried in Woking, 1930.

Post Scriptum: In the Wikipedia write up, it states that Dato’ Abdul Rahman Andak is the elder brother of Tan Sri Taib Andak, former FELDA dan Maybank Chairman. It is not possible because the two were born 70 years apart.

Published in: on March 28, 2007 at 19:59  Comments (12)  

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for the info about Dato’ Abdul Rahman Andak bro. Was in the dark when His Majesty mentioned his name.

  2. He was anti british administration yet he went into exile in England , may I quetions why…..?

  3. Dear BigDog,
    The Goverment must have thought that by naming the IDR with His Majesty Name would made the King happier and gleefully accepted the proposal .Thinking that they are dealing with a Kings who couldnt understand the way things were done.

    When Dato’Abd Rahman Andak name was uttered by the King ,am sure many UMNO members were at lost , as the history escaped them.By mentioning the name and proposing it,it signify the frustration of Johor ‘s Sultan in the ways things were done.
    The Federal has taken over the running of state,dispensing lands which were used to be the authority of the state and opening doors to recalcitrant neighbour who brought much misery to Johorean with pollution of the Strait of Johor and severe congestion.

    Your article on Dato’ Abd Rahman is well timed ,excellent and well researched as usual.How he tried to reduce the influence of the mighty British Empire, and propelled Johor to much greater heights in our history.All Johorean were indebted to him and I understand why Johorean revered their King so much.

    Thais revered their King more than any other subjects because their King never allowed anyone to colonise their country.Through power play and cunningness they manage to put the colonial powers at bay.You stand awed by their ingenuity.

    Dato’ARA was the sort of person any King would love to have on his side during those era.The way British treated Dato’ARA has left indelible mark in the Royal House of Johor ,passed through the generations of Sultans till the present day.Much rememberd as the man who stood against British singlehandedly.

    I believe the Sultan of Johor has spoken Dato’ARA’s name as a spite to his presnt MB and UMNO who didnt even know what the name stood for.THE NAME STOOD FOR DEFIANCE TO THE ONSLAUGHT UPON WHICH THE INTERST OF JOHOREAN WAS LEAST OF THEIR CONCERN!!

    Thanks BigDog…me still asking where are the Johorean with balls!!

  4. Yalah, apa nak jadi dengan Mat JB? Tak kan semua masuk Blues Gang, dan tak balik-balik lagi kot!

  5. Salam. Thank u for the info. I have never known anything about ARA other than that ARA the area housed many of the students that my father used to ferry in his van.

    I think the Johor Sultans and inadvertently the Johor people have been very blessed with a number strong, educated and wise ‘advisors’ who were deeply rooted with nationalist pride. I knew of Datuk Jaafar Muhammad . Dato’ Onn Jaafar, Dato’ Muhammad Salleh Perang and Ibrahim Munsyi because their names were mentioned in my Form 3 history book albeit only in passing much of the time. The only other mention of ARA that I came across was in an old dusty cover-less book that one of my elder siblings flicked from Sekolah Agama Bukit Zaharah almost 30 years ago.

    Tun Mahathir’s suggestions of the ‘incapabilities’ of the Johor Malays, I think is an excellent opportunity to see if we still have the likes of ARA and gang amongst us. Can Dato’ Shahrir and Tun Musa Hitam join the rank? I can’t wait to find out.

  6. Salam.
    I love to read this entry. Very eye-opening. I am doing little research about Datuk Seri Amar Diraja Abdul Rahman Andak and have some question to ask about. I guess you have something to add on.

    May i get your e-mail address for me to communicate more?

    Thank you in advance.

  7. 8 February, 2009
    I am the ‘great nephew’ (but only by marriage) of Abdul Rahman Andak (1850-1931). That is, Abdul Rahman Andak married my grandmother’s sister ‘Gustel’ after he was banished to London (in 1914).
    I have photographs of Abdul Rahman Andak, his English wife (my great aunt), the 3 sons she gave him and of Abdul Rahman Andak with the wedding party at the wedding of my parents (Oscar Kirchberger and Vera Strauss) in 1920 (in London)…among other pictures.
    My son Kerry and I will be in KL in March 2009 to make contact with various descendants of the family who are interested in whether there are descendants from Abdul Rahman Andak 3 London-born sons.
    In addition, we have pictures of several inscribed gifts from the Sultan of Johor Abu Bakar to my grandfather’s uncle dating to 1891 . My family still possesses these items.

    L. R. Berger, Professor Emeritus
    University of Hawaii

    • i would like to know more about the late abdul rahman andak.i would like to get the links together tq

  8. […] live on national TV. HRH Tuanku Sultan also said SJER should not be named after him but instead singled out Dato’ Rahman Andak, as the father of modern Johor and tried very hard to stop the influence of British into the […]

  9. get more to know about taib andak’s family and the biography… get this book title ” Taib Andak, A class of it own”

  10. Hahaha sangat spontan DYMM Sultan Johor.

  11. thenx lot 4 the info, those info help me done my project in SEJARAH classes..

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