courtesy of H.H. Tuanku Lukman Sinar


The ruling family descends from Tuanku Umar (alias Raja Usman), younger son of Tuanku Panglima Paderap of Aru (Deli). The third, but eldest Royal son of Paderap, he was expelled from Deli by his elder half-brother, Tuanku Gandar Wahid. He removed to Serdang, together with his mother and younger brother, where the Datuk Sunggal and other important nobles installed him as Raja.

Tuanku Umar's successors ruled in opposition to the rulers of Deli, until the arrival of the Dutch during the middle of the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, the Dutch had already made arrangements with the Sultan of Deli. When drawing up the borders between the two states, they allocated four districts to the latter. This short-sighted action caused lasting bitterness for the colonial authorities.

In common with the other princely states of north-east Sumatra, Serdang prospered from the rapid economic growth experienced by that area during the late and early nineteenth centuries. Much of this development came from the plantation industries, particularly tobacco, rubber and palm oil.

Perhaps because of the loss of territory to Deli, the Serdang rulers remained somewhat hostile to the Dutch colonial authorities. They remained wary of any proposals that would result in encroachments on their powers. Sultan Sulaiman Sharif ul-'Alam Shah, who reigned for sixty-seven years, almost the whole of the colonial period, was particularly exercised by such concerns. He led the opposition to the signing of "contracts" between the local rulers and the Dutch for a number of years.

Despite the Sultan's opposition to several aspects of Dutch rule, he was not one of those similarly disposed, who welcomed the Japanese invaders. The sultanate remained a centre of quiet opposition; several members of the ruling family being closely involved with the Dutch or Allied underground forces. One of their number, Tengku Rachmadu'llah, being beheaded by the Japanese in 1943.

The Japanese surrender in 1945 brought about a period of confusion and administrative collapse. Various groups attempted to seize power before the Dutch could return and re-establish colonial ruler. Misunderstandings arose when the Sultan accepted some arms surrendered to him by the defeated Japanese. The Royal palace was attacked and destroyed in the melee that followed. Shortly afterwards, the Sultan was taken into "protective custody" during the brutal putsch, known as the "social revolution". In effect this was nothing more than a bloody assassination campaign directed against foreigners, anyone linked to the administration or military, the Malay aristocracy or royalty.

Sultan Sulaiman died during his detention in late 1946. No successor was officially recognised or installed. Nevertheless, a long-standing campaign continues in favour of a restoration. It is lead by Tengku Lukman Sinar, younger son of the late Sultan and the foremost living historian of Sumatra.

The ruling prince: Paduka Sri Sultan (personal name) (reign name) ibni al-Marhum (father's titles and personal name), Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Serdang, with the style of His Highness.
The principal consort of the ruling prince: Tengku Permaisuri.
The Heir Apparent: Tengku Putra Mahkota.
The other sons and male descendants of the ruling prince, in the male line and down to the fifth generation: Tengku (personal name).
The daughters and female descendants of the ruling prince, in the male line and down to the fifth generation: Tengku (personal name).

Male primogeniture, the sons of Royal wives taking precedence over those of commoners.


None known.

Bawar: the state sword, presented by the Sultans of Aceh.
Mufti Besar: the chief Islamic official in the state.
Nakhoda Raja: the title of the two officials charged with supervising the state finances.
Rajawali: the state kris, inherited from Sri Paduka Khoja Pahlawan, the founder of the Royal Houses of Deli and Serdang.

See Malaysia main page.

John Anderson, Mission to the East Coast of Sumatra in 1823. Oxford in Asia Historical Reprints. Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, 1971.
Dada Meuraxa, Sejarah Kebudayaan Suku-Suku di Sumatera Utara. Sasterawan, Medan, 1973.
T. Lukman Sinar, SH, The History of Medan in the olden times. Lembaga Penelitian dan Pengembangan Seni Budaya Melayu, Medan, 1996
T. Lukman Sinar, SH, Teromba Silsilah Radja2 dan Bangsawan Serdang, Medan, 2001.
Tuanku Lukman Sinar Basarsyah II, SH, Kronik Mahkota Kesultanan Serdang. Yandira Agung, Medan, 2003.

Haji 'Abdu'l Hamid Arsyad, Datuk Amar di-Raja.
H.H. Tuanku Lukman Sinar Basarsyah II, Sultan of Serdang.
Y.A.M. Tengku Haji Shahrial Sinar bin al-Marhum Sultan Sulaiman Sharif ul-'Alam Shah.
Y.M. Tengku Vivian Rosa.
I would be grateful to hear from anyone who may have changes, corrections or additions to contribute. If you do, please be kind enough to send me an e-mail using the contact details at:
Copyright© Christopher Buyers 

Copyright© Christopher Buyers, January 2002 - January 2013