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Google Doodle salutes M'sian icon Azah Aziz

21/08/2022 08:54 PM

By Fatin Nabihah Marzuki

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 (Bernama) – Google has paid a doodle homage to the late Malaysian luminary in the field of journalism, Azah Aziz, who would have celebrated her 94th birthday today.

Azah, whose maiden name was Sharifah Azah Syed Mohammad Alsagoff, was married to Royal Professor, Dr Ungku Abdul Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid, and was the mother of former Bank Negara Malaysia governor, Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

Also known as Mak Ungku, she wrote articles for newspapers and magazines for 37 years. She also penned more than 10 books including about Malay clothes and textiles.

She honed her love for writing and literature while working as secretary to the head of the Malay Studies Department and well-known intellectual, Tan Sri Zainal Abidin Ahmad, or better known as Za’ba.

“In 1957, Azah was fortunate to be offered a job as secretary to the chief editor of Straits Times at the time, Leslie Hoffman, three months after he started Berita Harian, a Malay language newspaper.

“She began her career as a journalist after that when she was assigned to manage the women’s desk for two years, taking over from her mother, Azizah Jaafar,” a statement from Google said today.

Among the people she interviewed were the Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi; boxing legend Muhammad Ali and his family; and first woman astronaut, Valentina Nikolayeva-Tereshkova.

In addition to this, Azah started a book publishing company called Akaz and was among the first women in Malaysia to publish children's books on poetry, games and songs such as Adik Comel, Ibu, Keluarga Kita, O! Bangau and Burung Kenek Kenek.

In many ways, she was a pioneer, starting the Malaysian Women Journalists Association (Pertama) and becoming its first president from 1971 - 1978 and later advisor.

She also fought for equal pay, filing taxes separately, Islamic family (law) amendments and started the Muslim Women’s Action Association (Pertiwi) which promoted the welfare of women and children.

She was also a cultural luminary and given recognition as a Tokoh Budayawan Melayu for her work to preserve traditional Malay textiles, clothes and heritage.

Based on her in-depth knowledge of these things, Azah gave lectures at art festivals and international seminars to uphold and provide a better understanding of the Malay culture.

For her contributions to journalism and Malay heritage, Azah was awarded an honorary doctoral degree in art and education by Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) in 2008.

She was also selected as Tokoh Wanita Johor in 1992 and given the Avon Tan Sri Fatimah Woman of Distinction Award in 1994.             

 Azah passed away on July 9, 2012 when she was 84.


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