Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy with nine hereditary rulers who take turns serving as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or Supreme Ruler, for five-year terms. His government role is mostly ceremonial. The most recent king, Sultan Abdullah of Pahang, took office in January 2019.
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A History of Malaysia by Barbara Watson Andaya and Leonard Y. Andaya. Traces events in the Malay world from early times to the 20th century. Includes data on the pre-1800 period gathered not only from European archives but also from indigenous manuscripts and legends.
Palace, Political Party and Power: A Story of the Socio-political Development of Malay Kingship by Kobkua Suwannathat-Pian. Malays are Malaysia's dominant ethnic group. This book traces the history of the Malay rulers from the late colonial period to the first decade of the 21st century, including modern political events in Malaysia.
Monarchy in South East Asia: The Faces of Tradition in Transition by Roger Kershaw. The history and contemporary role of South East Asian monarchy, including Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, and Laos.
Perilous Journey: A Mother's International Quest to Rescue Her Children by Patricia C. Sutherland. Written by an American woman who married a Malaysian prince she met in 1989, then battled for custody of their children after the marriage fell apart.
The China Bride by Amanda Nairn. Fiction. This book tells the mythical story of the marriage of a Ming princess to the Sultan of Melaka (in Malaysia) in 1474. This is the first book in a planned trilogy.
Sulu and Sabah by Nicholas Tarling. A study of British policy toward the Philippines and North Borneo from the 18th century.
Sarena's Story: The Loss of a Kingdom by Criselda Yabes. Fiction set in the court of the sultan of Sulu.
The White Rajahs: A History of Sarawak From 1841 to 1946 by Steven Runciman. A history of the Brooke family dynasty in the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo.
White Rajah by Nigel Barley. Biography of Sir James Brooke, a 19th century Englishman who found himself ruling over Sarawak, a kingdom the size of England.
The White Rajahs of Sarawak: A Borneo Journey by Bob Reece. A richly illustrated history of this incredible family saga.
Power and Prowess: The Origins of Brooke Kingship in Sarawak by J. H. Walker. Shows James Brooke in the context of Bornean culture and the ritual sources of his power, offering a detailed political history of the period and new interpretations of Brooke's career and the interests of Sarawak people themselves.
Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters: An Outrageous Englishwoman and Her Lost Kingdom by Philip Eade. Sylvia Brooke (1885-1971) was the consort of Sir Vyner Brooke, whose family had ruled the jungle kingdom of Sarawak on Borneo for three generations.
The White Rajahs of Sarawak by Robert Payne. The story of the Brooke dynasty.
My Life in Sarawak by Margaret of Sarawak. Margaret, ranee of Sarawak, became consort to the second white rajah, Charles Brooke. Her memoir was originally published in 1913.
Queen of the Headhunters by Sylvia Brooke. Autobiography of Sylvia, Lady Brooke, the last ranee of Sarawak.
Once I Was a Princess by Jacqueline Pascarl-Gillespie. Autobiography of an Australian woman who married a Malaysian prince in 1980 and moved to his country, where she says she endured brutal treatment.
Since I Was a Princess by Jacqueline Pascarl. The author, former wife of a prince from Terengganu, tells how she dealt with her grief at the abduction of her two children, rebuilt her life, and started a new family.
The Raja Bahrin Story: A Father's Dramatic Rescue Mission by Raja Bahrin Shah and Bryan Wickham. How the authors retrieved Raja Bahrin's children from Australia with a fishing boat and brought them back to Malaysia. (The book is expensive.)