Jawi daily read by Chinese in Terengganu


  • Letters
  • Friday, 24 Jan 2003

UTUSAN Melayu, the Jawi daily which was once considered a premier publication among the Malay community, was closed down on New Year’s day. 

Yesterday the daily's sister Malay-language newspaper Utusan Malaysia published an interview with several Chinese residents in Setiu, Terengganu, who remembered how the paper came to be a part of their lives. 

Ang Huai Jin, 79, and Or Sung Kiu, 70, from Kampung Fikri were among the members of the Chinese community who still read the Jawi newspaper daily. 

They told the daily that they learnt how to read Jawi after attending classes at the Kampung Payang Malay school in 1940. 

Ang and his Chinese friends attended the Malay school despite the presence of a vernacular school in their village.  

“We were quite close to our Malay neighbours, I guess that’s why most of us were interested to attend Malay school. 

“There was no problem for us although we were from a different community and religion. 

“Reading and writing in both Jawi and the romanised Malay language was equally important in those days,” he added. 

Ang said he studied Mathematics, History, Geography in addition to learning to read and write in Jawi. 

He accepted that Utusan Melayu had to close down because it was not widely read by the Malay community. 

“But everyone should be reminded that the newspaper was a premier newspaper which was a proud product of the intellectual development of the Malay community in the country,” Ang said. 

Sung Kiu said most of the Chinese community in the village sent their children to the Malay school because they accepted anyone regardless of their race. 

Berita Harian published a statement from the Press Secretary to the Foreign Minister Mustapha Ahmad Merican, advising individuals who claim to have documents containing evidence to support Malaysia’s claim over Pulau Batu Puteh to hand them over to the Ministry. 

 

Mustapha told the newspaper that Malaysia’s case would come to nothing if these individuals only told the media of their possession of the documents but did not provide them to the Government to support its case with the ICJ. 

 

The newspaper also cited the agreement signed between the British Government and the Sultan of Johor Sultan Hussein Shah and the Temenggong of Johor on Aug 2, 1824 to back Malaysia’s claim. 

“The second paragraph of the agreement states that Singapore’s territory covered only the main island and areas 6km from its beach,” it added. 

 

The disputed island is located 20 nautical miles off Singapore and seven nautical miles off Johor.  

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