The Queen now tweets in Jawi

PETALING JAYA: The Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, has resorted to tweeting in Jawi, the Malay-Arabic script at the heart of a controversy over its teaching in vernacular schools.

The popular queen switched to Jawi on Dec 28, after earlier defending the government’s move to teach the script as part of the Bahasa Melayu subject in vernacular schools.

It comes amid resistance from several non-Malay educationists, with some saying teaching Jawi was part of a larger Islamisation agenda in Malaysian schools.

In her latest tweet yesterday, Tunku Azizah questioned the powers of a school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)to decide on the contents of the national syllabus.

“Anak-anak saya juga ke sekolah kerajaan. PIBG hanya untuk menjaga kebajikan dan mutu pelajaran yang disampaikan oleh guru,” she wrote in Jawi.

(My children also attend government school. PTA is only to protect the welfare and ensure the teaching quality).

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching reportedly said this week that the teaching of Jawi in vernacular schools was subject to the approval from PTA and parents.

In August last year, the education ministry said Jawi lessons for Year 4 students in vernacular schools should have the consent of parents and PTAs.

Meanwhile, Tunku Azizah’s Jawi tweets received praise from her Twitter followers, including former police chief Musa Hassan and former minister Syed Hamid Albar.

“Bravo Tuanku. Speaking the truth. Even the British recognised this heritage,” Syed Hamid wrote.

The queen had earlier said it was an advantage to know how to write in Jawi, as well as to master additional language skills.

She gave the example of her son learning Mandarin, as well as her sister-in-law, Johor’s Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah, who has a major in Mandarin from Oxford University.

“It’s no loss learning Jawi or other languages and calligraphy,” said Tunku Azizah.