Tunku Puan Zanariah

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Raja Permaisuri Agong VIII
Tunku Puan of Johor
Raja Permaisuri Agong
Tenure 26 April 1984 – 25 April 1989
Installation 15 November 1984
Predecessor Tengku Afzan
Successor Tuanku Bainun
Sultanah of Johor
Tenure 11 May 1981 – 22 January 2010
Predecessor Tunku Puan Nora
Successor Permaisuri Raja Zarith Sofiah
Born (1940-07-05) 5 July 1940 (age 76)
Pasir Mas, Kelantan
Spouse Sultan Iskandar
Issue Tunku Mariam
Tunku Norani
Tunku Maimunah Ismailiah
Tunku Abdul Majid
Tunku Muna Najiah
Tunku Aminah Kalsom[1][2]
Full name
Tengku Zanariah binti Tengku Ahmad (as birth)
Father Tengku Ahmad (Tengku Panglima Raja of Kelantan)
Religion Sunni Islam

Tunku Puan Zanariah[3] (Tengku Zanariah binti Almarhum Tengku Ahmad; born 5 July 1940)[4] is the second wife of Sultan Iskandar of Johor from their marriage in 1961 until his death in 2010. She served as Raja Permaisuri Agong between 1984 and 1989.

Her sister, Tengku Nora, was married to her father-in-law, Sultan Ismail.[5]

Early life[edit]

Born on 5 July 1940, in Dusun Green Palace, Pasir Mas, Kelantan, Tengku Zanariah is the seventh child of HRH Tengku Panglima Raja Kelantan from among nine siblings. She comes from the Kelantan royal family.[4] Her father, the late Tengku Panglima Raja Ahmad was a son of HRH Al-Marhum Tengku Temenggong Kelantan Tengku Abdul Ja'far Ibni HM Long Senik Mulut Merah (Sultan Muhammad II).

Tengku Zanariah was enrolled into Sultanah Zainab School, Kelantan an elementary school where she studied from 1946 to 1949. Between 1950 and 1952 she studied at the Convent Bukit Nanas in Kuala Lumpur before returning to Kelantan where she continued her studies at Sultan Ibrahim School, Pasir Mas. With the encouragement of her father and her own desire to equip herself for the future, she left for England in 1954 to further her studies at the Upper Chime School, Isle of Wight.[4]

While studying in England, Tengku Zanariah met Tunku Iskandar[6] (later Sultan Iskandar) who was also studying there. They later married in 1961, and became the mother of Tunku Iskandar's six children.[2][7]

Sultanah of Johor[edit]

Her husband became Sultan of Johor in 1981. Although she was known as Sultanah,[8] she was never formally crowned.[3]

In 1982, Tunku Zanariah sponsored and established the Majlis Wanita Negeri Johor or MAWAR (the Women's Council of Johor), which organises various religious activities such as the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday at its headquarters at Sungai Cat Road in Johor Bahru.[9] MAWAR also collected donations for distribution among flood victims in Johor as well as the less fortunate and the needy.

Her husband died in 2010 and was succeeded by her stepson Tunku Ibrahim Ismail. In 2011, a government circular issued removed the honorific 'Sultanah' from her name, and instructed that she be referred to instead as 'Tunku Puan Zanariah' or simply 'Tunku Zanariah'. The current royal court also does not recognise her as a former holder of the title Sultanah of Johor.[3]


Tunku Zanariah has a passion for the arts. She also loves cooking and takes great care in her daily chores. She pays special attention to the selection and arrangement of decorations in the palace particularly in preparation for official dinners. Tunku Zanariah also loves reading especially about culture, history and affairs of neighbouring countries.

She was also the winner of the first edition of Miss Malaysia-International 1960 where she was represented Malaysia in Miss International 1960 in United States. Unfortunately, she did not placed in the pageant that time.

During her free time, Tunku Zanariah loves to exercise, ride horses and play golf or tennis. She is also good in water skiing. During her younger days, she climbed Gunung Ledang, the highest mountain in Johor. She is currently the only consort to have done so.[4]


  • Chancellor of the University of Technology, Malaysia (UTM) until 2010.
  • Patron of the Iskandar Puteri Foundation.
  • Patron of the Women’s Council of Johor (MAWAR) since 1982.

Honours [10][edit]

Honours of Malaysia[edit]


  1. ^ JOHOR (Sultanate)
  2. ^ a b Rahman, Solomon, pg 21
  3. ^ a b c "No 'sultanah' title or special perks for 2 Johor consorts". New Straits Times. 17 February 2011. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d Information Malaysia (1985), pg 58
  5. ^ Tan Chee Khoon, pg 25
  6. ^ "Tengku" is spelled as "Tunku" in Johor; Malaysian Protocol and Correct Forms of Address (1986), pg 20
  7. ^ Negara Brunei Darussalam: A Biographical Dictionary (1860-1996) (1996), pg 290
  8. ^ "Sultanah: We need more graduates". New Straits Times. 16 April 2000. National p. 9. 
  9. ^ Maklumat lisan Johor, pg 146
  10. ^ Royal Ark
  11. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1987." (PDF). 


  • Negara Brunei Darussalam: A Biographical Dictionary (1860-1996), A. V. M. Horton, 1996, ISBN 0-9524831-8-1
  • Challenging Times, Abdul Rahman, J. S. Solomon, published by Pelanduk Publications, 1985, ISBN 967-978-094-5
  • Information Malaysia, published by Berita Publications Sdn. Bhd., 1985
  • Maklumat Lisan Johor: Projek Pelajar-Pelajar Lewartawanan, Kajian Sebaran Am, Institut Teknologi MARA, Biroteks, published by Institut Teknologi MARA, 1987
  • Malaysian Protocol and Correct Forms of Address, Abdullah Ali, published by Times Books International, 1986, ISBN 9971-65-370-2
  • Sistem beraja di Malaysia, Tan Chee Khoon, published by Pelanduk Publications, 1985
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Tengku Afzan
(Tengku Ampuan of Pahang)
Raja Permaisuri Agong
(Queen of Malaysia)
Succeeded by
Tuanku Bainun
(Raja Permaisuri of Perak)