Before Leyden's translation appeared, however, other writers had already given extracts and translations of the subject-matter found in the Sejarah Melayu, namely van der Vorm and Valentijn. The latter gave an account of the history of the Malays and a genealogical list of their kings with (Christian) years. The information given by him is basically the same as that provided by van der Vorm. Elsewhere in his work, Valentijn enumerates the Malay books in his possession, among them "Soelalet Essalatina, or the genealogy of the kings of the Malay coast and of Malacca; however (he adds), this I possess not in Arabic, but in Dutch letters." Winstedt has tried to argue, but on insufficient grounds, that Valentijn made use of a Raffles 18 version.
At the same time an accurate and thorough comparison of dates found in some Malay manuscripts has been, made, and the ones which seemed the most reliable have been taken as a basis." Netscher then gives the same information as provided by van der Vorm and Valentijn. On the strength of what Netscher tells us about these Malay manuscripts I tend to the conclusion that we are here dealing with kinglists like the one found in Cod. Or. 3199 (3) part 4, and not with a Sejarah Melayu text as in the printed versions. As already mentioned before, none of the Sejarah Melayu manuscripts known to us has dates, and it would therefore seem most strange if Netscher about 1850 had seen manuscripts of the Sejarah Melayu with dates. Salient again, however, in the description of these manuscripts given by Netscher, is the occurrence of the name Sulalatu'l-Salatin which, as we have seen, was also mentioned by van der Vorm and Valentijn.
We may therefore safely accept the view put forward by Linehan, when he speaks of "the first written material (pedigrees etc.), which formed a basis for the chronicle that ultimately emerged as the Malay Annals...", without necessarily agreeing with his terms chronicle and annals. In other words: The Sejarah Melayu has developed from a kinglist which mentioned periods of reign with dates and gave concise information about the individual rulers. This kinglist subsequently became enlarged by various stories and otherwise historically relevant material which was inserted into it in suitable places, but at the same time it lost its dates. The Malay Annals or Sejarah Melayu as we know it today is primarily a book of tales and anecdotes of the past and not so much a historical work, although it contains a wealth of historical material.
(i) short version chapter II has become two chapters, II and III, that is to say, the history of Minangkabau is more detailed and different. These chapters II and III are followed by a fourth chapter, missing in Shellabear, and containing the sequel to the story of Chitaram Shah (comp. the final passages of Shellabear chapter I, where Bichitaram Shah);
(ii) the data about the parentage of Hang Tuah are different. In the long version mention is made of a delegation sent by Malacca to Macassar which on its return brings Hang Tuah as a gift from the king of Macassar to the sultan of Malacca (see appendix). Reference to this passage is made by R. O. Winstedt who apparently saw only one manuscript of this type;
(iii) the end of the short version, the account of the death of Tun Ali Hati, is here followed by a number of chapters relating episodes of the subsequent history of the Malays;
(iv) the rebellion of Hang Jebat, which in the short version is ascribed to Hang Kasturi. In addition, there is a considerable number of minor differences and variant readings which it is not possible or necessary to mention here. A combination, or perhaps we should say a blending, of this short version and the long version has resulted in the text of Shellabear. The Shellabear recension is actually the short version with added to it the extra segments of the long version after the account of the death of Tun Ali Hati, but without most of the variant readings of the first part, and so the Shellabear redaction has become a hybrid text. One of the manuscripts used by Shellabear in editing his text was Maxwell 26;