Tun Perak

Bendahara Paduka Raja Tun Perak was the fifth and most famous bendahara of the Sultanate of Melaka. He served under four sultans, Sultan Muzzafar Shah, Sultan Mansur Shah, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah and Sultan Mahmud Shah from 1456 to 1498.

When Bendahara Seri Wak Raja (I) passed away, the Sultan appointed Tun Perpatih Serdang, son of the late Bendahara Seri Wak Raja (I) as the Bendahara of Melaka and was called Seri Wak Raja (II). However, Seri Wak Raja (II) committed suicide by poisoning himself when he misunderstood that Sultan Muzaffar Shah was angry with him. The late Bendahara Seri Wak Raja (II) left a daughter, Tun Kudu and two sons, Tun Perak and Tun Perpatih Putih and Sultan Muzaffar Shah later married Tun Kudu. Tun Perak who was not holding any post in Melaka was sent by Sultan Muzaffar Shah to be the headman of Kelang. Seri Nara Diraja acted as Bendahara of Melaka.

A looming threat from Ayuthia, the capital of Siam, became a reality in the form of an attack on Melaka by land in 1446. Tun Perak brought men from Kelang to help Melaka repel the Siamese. His good sense and leadership qualities attracted the attention of the Sultan, whose desire to see Melaka prosper made him appoint Tun Perak as the Bendahara.

Tun Perak rise to political prominence created a tension between him and Tun Ali. Since his two favourite leaders were at odds, which could caused a split among the people, Sultan Muzaffar Shah had a discussion with Tun Ali, who was an elderly widower. Tun Ali agreed to keep on the condition that he was allowed to marry Tun Kudu, the Sultan’s consort. Sultan Muzaffar Syah agreed to divorce his consort in the interest of political stability and Tun Kudu also agreed, for the peace of the nation, to marry Tun Ali. The sacrifices of Tun Kudu and Sultan Muzaffar Syah were not in vain. Tun Ali and Tun Perak became good friends and supported each other in working for the development of Melaka. It was not long before Tun Ali himself asked the Sultan to appoint Tun Perak as Bendahara. The Sultan then appointed Tun Perak as the Bendahara with the title Paduka Raja around the year 1456.

The Government of Siam, with its capital at Ayuthia, wanted to conquer Melaka atlhough an earlier attack by land had ended in defeat for the Siamese. In 1456, during the reign of King Boromo Trilokanat, they planned a naval attack on Melaka. The government of Melaka, when it learned of Ayuthai’s intentions, put its naval forces in readiness and decided to repel the attack near Batu Pahat. The forces were commanded by Tun Perak and assisted by Tun Hamzah, a warrior by the nickname Datuk Bongkok. A fierce fight broke out between the two sides and this was the first engagement Melaka had faced. Nevertheless, they were more superior in skill and knowledge and their ships succeeded in driving off the Siamese, pursuing them to Singapore and forcing them to return home. Melaka’s victory in this battle gave it new confidence to devise strategies for extending its influence throughout the Archipelago. The defeat of Siam brought political stability to Melaka and enhanced its reputation in South East Asia. Tun Perak was also instrumental in colonising Pahang, Terengganu, Johor, Riau, Lingga, Bengkalis, Karimon, Rokan, Siak, kampar, Jambi, Inderagiri and Aru. The rulers of these governments converted to Islam due to Melaka’s influence.

Tun Perak was very loyal towards the Malaka Sultanate. When his son, Tun Besar was killed by Sultan Mahmud Shah’s son, Raja Muhammad due to a misunderstanding, he did not seek revenge against the sultan. Instead, he requested Raja Muhammad to be crowned elsewhere. The sultan honored Tun Perak’s request, therefore Raja Muhammad was made a sultan in Pahang. Tun Perak died in 1498 and was replaced by his younger brother Tun Perpatih Putih. His death is widely held to be the start of the Melaka Empire’s decline.


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