Dato' Maharaja Lela Pandak Lam is one of the 8 ‘pembesar delapan’ of Perak. His father, Pandak Lam is the descendant of Daeng Salili, the son of a Bugis King who hailed from Luwuk District, Sulawesi. Daeng Salili came to Perak during the reign of Sultan Muzaffar Shah III. He was appointed as the mufti of Perak and was given the title Dato’ Maharaja Lela Tan Lela with the power to wield the sword and to use it at will.
He led the resistance of the locals against the British in Perak. Together with other leaders such as Orang Kaya-kaya Seri Agar Diraja (better known as Dato' Sagor) and Ngah Kandin he had plotted to resist the intervention of the British in Perak by killing the British Resident, James Wheller Woodfird Birch (J.W.W. Birch).
This plan was fully supported by Sultan Abdullah and Sultan Ismail, as well as by the people of Pasir Salak and Kampung Gajah. Dato Maharaja Lela’s role as the hand that dealt the killing blow in the assassination of J.W.W Birch was meant to carry out the final decision that was reached in the Durian Sebatang meeting on the 21st July 1875, chaired by Sultan Abdullah and attended by important ministers or their representatives.
However his act was considered heinous and he was convicted by the court, which takes place on 14-22nd December 1876. He was sentenced to death by hanging on 20th January 1877. Here it can concluded that Dato’ Maharaja Lela is a warrior that fought for interest of his nation and the country but ultimately betrayed by his own king and people.
Source: Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia (http://sejarahmalaysia.pnm.my)