Queen encourages the people to read, write in native languages

Modified 4 Jan 2020, 4:10 am

The Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah has expressed her thoughts on learning to read and write in one's native language as well as learning another language.

Sharing the thoughts on her personal Twitter page yesterday, the queen said the people "will not lose in any way" if they were able to read and write in Mandarin and Tamil.

"We would be fortunate to read our own respective newspapers (written in native language) if we were able to read and write in Mandarin and Tamil [you] will not lose in any way," she said in a series of tweets.

She also continued sharing her interest in the Jawi script, saying that she was still learning to write in the language.

"I didn't attend a religious school in Johor but because I was interested in Jawi, I taught myself by reading the Utusan Melayu newspaper.

"Although I can read Jawi [...] I am still learning to write in Jawi," she said.

The queen, who has Chinese lineage, added that it would be fortunate if she could write in Cantonese too.

"I have Cantonese blood but I don't know how to read or write (in Cantonese). How fortunate if I could write in Cantonese too," she said.

The queen's tweets were all written in the Jawi script.

In an interview with Sin Chew Daily in July last year, the queen confirmed her Chinese lineage.

“I am a Raja Permaisuri Agong with Chinese parentage. I am a Cantonese. I can speak a bit of the dialect and some Hokkien.

“Whether it is Ong or Wong, I confirm that I am a Raja Permaisuri Agong with Chinese parentage,” she had said in the interview.

The queen's tweets come amidst the introduction of Jawi lessons into the primary school syllabus and which has been a polarising issue.

It has met resistance and criticism from certain quarters including from Chinese educationist groups Dong Zong and Jiao Zong both who had initially planned a congress to protest against the move.

The congress was later cancelled after police obtained a court order prohibiting it.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Muslim Students Coalition (Gamis) held a rally defending the teaching of Jawi script in schools on the first day of the new year.

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