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Background and History

Establishment

The Office of the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal was established in 1948 in accordance with the Federation of Malaya Agreement which came into force on 01.02.1948 to replace the government under the Malayan Union. The Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal serves as Secretary to the Council of Rulers which held its inaugural meeting on 18.02.1948.

From 1948 to 1957, the Council of Rulers was composed of nine Malay rulers whose role was to discuss and advise the British High Commissioner on the administration of the Federation of Malaya. The Federation of Malaya comprised nine Malay states with rulers and two Straits Settlements, namely Penang and Province Wellesley and Melaka, each of which was headed by a British Resident Commissioner. However, the British heads of administration were not part of the Council of Rulers.

The Office of the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal continued to exist after the country’s independence on 31.08.1957 with two Governors (now called the Yang di-Pertua Negeri) from the states of Penang and Melaka becoming members of the Conference of Rulers in accordance with the provisions of Article 38 of the Federal Constitution. After 16.09.1963, the Yang di-Pertua of Sabah and of Sarawak (other than Singapore until 09.08.1965) became part of the Conference of Rulers.

Today, the Office of the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal is managed by a 15-member staff. The management team comprises the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, who is appointed in accordance with the Fifth Schedule of the Federal Constitution and serves as the Head of Department, and the Assistant Secretary to the Conference of Rulers. The other personnel comprise 13 officers/staff members appointed by the government.

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Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal

Initially, the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal was the most senior government servant. It had been decided at a meeting of the Conference of Rulers that the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal should not be lower in stature than the most senior Menteri Besar, who at the time was a senior government servant. The justification for this was that the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal acts on behalf of all the rulers, whereas the Menteri Besar only represents the ruler in his own state. Furthermore, the Rulers still had, to some extent, executive power thus Their Highnesses required the services of a senior officer.

After independence, the executive power of the rulers transferred to the people. Hence, the office of the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal no longer carries the same responsibilities as in the past.

The Fifth Schedule of the Federal Constitution provides that:

Section 3. The Conference of Rulers shall have a Rulers’ Seal, which shall be kept in the custody of a person appointed by the Conference.
"Section 4. The person appointed under Section 3 shall be known as the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, shall act as Secretary to the Conference of Rulers and shall hold his office at the pleasure of the Council.
Section 6. The Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal shall convene the Conference of Rulers whenever required to do so by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or by not less than three members of the Conference and, without being so required, not later than four weeks before the expiry of the term of office of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and whenever a vacancy occurs in that office or in the office of the Timbalan Yang di-Pertuan Agong.””

The title, Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, originates from Britain where it has been used since more than 600 years ago, traversing from faraway England to Malaysia via India. The person bearing this title is known by this name as he is charged with the custody of the Rulers’ Seal. Not many people are aware of his duties. The Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal is the secretary to the Conference of Rulers (Section 4 of the Fifth Schedule of the Federal Constitution).

Contact Us


Penyimpan Mohor Besar Raja-raja
Pejabat Penyimpan Mohor Besar Raja-raja,
482, Jalan Bukit Petaling
50682 Kuala Lumpur

Phone: 03-2141 7270 / 03-2142 4947
Fax: 03 - 2142 2080
E-mail: urusetia[at]majlisraja-raja.gov.my




Setiausaha,
Kumpulan Wang Biasiswa Pengajian Tinggi Raja-Raja Dan Yang di-Pertua-Yang di-Pertua Negeri,
482, Jalan Bukit Petaling
50682 Kuala Lumpur

Phone: 03-2148 5373
Fax: 03 - 2142 2080
E-mail: biasiswarajaraja[at]gmail.com

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Updated Date
  • Last Updated: 08.08.2022.
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