After the 1819 treaty was signed, Sultan Hussein Mohamed Shah’s compound at Seduyong—later renamed Kampong Glam—was an active centre of trade. The area resembled a traditional Malay entrepôt, with a royal compound, surrounded by the Bugis Town.
In the royal compound, there was a citadel, a padang
(a public square), a royal garden, a royal burial ground, and districts for craftsmen and workmen. It was there that the Sultan lived in a large thatched house.
Many Bugis and Javanese traders, and craftsmen from Riau, came and settled in the area. Rochor River, Kallang Bay and Kampong Glam’s waterfront became bustling areas.
Sultan Hussein grew richer and lived with a large royal entourage in accordance with his new status. However, his legal powers were soon dismantled by the British.
Subsequent treaties—signed with Stamford Raffles in 1823 and the second Resident John Crawfurd in 1824—resulted in the removal of the Sultan’s legal rights to the island, monopolies and traditional presents from traders. In exchange, he took lump-sum payments with a lifetime pension.
Crawfurd made plain the Sultan’s loss of power in Singapore to the British. He ordered a road (present-day Victoria Street) to be laid, even though its path cut across the Sultan’s grounds. The walls of the Sultan’s compound were torn down without his agreement. Malay scholar Munshi Abdullah wrote that “when the Sultan saw that it has been achieved by force majeure
, he held his peace and never said a word, for he knew that he no longer possessed of any authority in the settlement of Singapore.”
In 1834, Sultan Hussein faced a financial scandal. He had asked Abdul Kadir, a close family friend, to manage the household expenses which had expanded greatly
Sultan Hussein Mohamed Shah kept a large entourage of advisers and assistants, which cost him a lot of money to upkeep. Eventually, he was in need of money. John Crawfurd, the Resident in Singapore at that time, proposed that Sultan Hussein should leave Singapore and move to Melaka. If he did so, he would be given 30,000 Spanish dollars at once.
. As it was Abdul Kadir’s job to make spending cuts, the Sultan’s relatives did not like him and he was forced to go to Melaka for his own safety. However, the Sultan and his family soon joined Abdul Kadir in Melaka, when their troubles proved too much.
The Sultan died a year later and was buried in Melaka.
In 1840, Sultan Ali
He was the son of Sultan Hussein Mohamed Shah, who left Singapore after being hit by financial troubles. The family moved to Melaka in 1834, but Sultan Ali returned in 1840 when he was 15, in an attempt to reclaim his family’s royal status.
, the son of Sultan Hussein, returned to Singapore. Just 15 years old, he claimed his father’s property in Kampong Glam—the area that Raffles allotted to him and his family.
Sultan Ali commissioned an istana (which means palace in Malay) made of brick and chunam, a plaster made with shell-lime and soil. The architect in charge of the istana was Irish civil architect, G.D. Coleman. It was completed in 1843.
The British acknowledged him as Sultan Hussein’s legitimate heir, but not his rights to the Sultanate. Tussles within the colonial system on the legality of Sultan Ali’s claims led to a suggestion by the Indian Presidency, which was in charge of the Straits Settlements, that the Temenggong should purchase the entire sovereignty of the Sultan.
In 1855, Sultan Ali ceded his royal claims of Johor to Temenggong Daing Ibrahim.