The post of District Officer Padang Terap was unpopular because Kuala Nerang was rife with malaria.As soon as Tunku took over the district, he gave orders for a survey to be made of the swamps which bordered the town, obtained an estimate for draining them and applied to the State Secretariat for the necessary funds.

He returned home in 1915 to continue his education at the Penang Free School.

After about a year, Tunku realised that he was making very little progress in his studies. Ezekiel, his guardian, in the office of the Crown Agents, Ezekiel arranged for Tunku to move to Cambridge and to be taught by and live with Basil Atkinson.

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Unfortunately, Tunku's plea for funds were rejected.

He wrote again to the State Secretariat, asking that funds be made available to drain the swamps and to rid Kuala Nerang of the main breeding place of the carriers of malaria.In 1934, the Regent died unexpectedly and was succeeded as Regent by Tunku Mahmud, the Sultan's younger brother, who was more broad-minded and gave consent to the marriage.This enabled Violet to move to Kuala Nerang, but the Secretary to the Government showed his disapproval by transferring Tunku to the isolated post of District Officer at Langkawi.The district consisted of a group of islands, thinly populated, sparsely cultivated and without roads.When Tunku applied for government funds to develop Langkawi his application was rejected. Jones made a visit to Langkawi and was so impressed by Tunku's initiative that he persuaded the Council of State to transfer and promote him to the post of District Officer of Sungai Petani, the second most important district in Kedah.He remained Prime Minister following the formation of Malaysia in 1963, when Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore joined the federation, until his retirement in 1970.