Unlike the most cases in Southeast Asia, the traditional royal power of Malay sultans was not eroded in the wake of modernization under colonial rules. This study attempts to investigate driving forces behind the exceptional phenomenon. The raja and kerajaan, once firmly established within the Melaka society, became the central cornponent of Malay identity. At the beginning of its colonial rule, in fact, the British did not recognize how the royal power was crucial in the traditional Malay society. After understanding its reality through the sultans` roles on socio-political turmoils, for the British eyes, the institution of monarchy became such an effective instrument of control of the rakyat that they fully took advantage of its viability. As a result, the royal power was maintained. Rather, it will not be improper to say that the royal power was strengthened under British rule. However, it should be mentioned that the result was attributed, to a certain degree, to the sultans` active roles rather than British colonial policies unlike many historians believe. In addition, the "serviceable past" continued to play an effective role during the following periods. In the first year of the occupation, the Jappanese did not attempt to take advantage of the raja for controlling Malay rakyat Around the end of 1942, however, the turning tide of the war forced the Japanese to alter their policy toward the sultans. Like the British before the was, the Japanese made use of the serviceable past for the purpose of uniting the Malays under the sultans. In consequence, the royal power continued to be effective without its serious erosion, while the rakyat regarded the sultans as the central component of their identity. In the early stages of the protest against the Malayan Union, the general feeling among the Malays included a certain amount of antagonism toward the sultans who had signed away their birthright without reference to their people. However, when the aristocratic intellectuals employed the same serviceable past like the colonial powers had done, the ideological position of the Malay rulers was restored. Consequently, in the wake of the protest, the raja or kerajaan was crystallized as an integral symbol of Maly nationalism, which was a modernized version of the mystical link between the raja and the rakyat in the sultanate of Melaka.