Saturday, 21 July 2012

Malay Concordance Project: Malay Publishers

There were 2 Malacca Malay publishers in Penang, Syed Sheikh and Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim. Both were related by marriage.

  1. This is a listing of the contents of the articles which were published in Saudara, an early Malay newspaper which appeared in Penang: 
  2. Saudara was published twice weekly between 1931 and 1950s, by the Jelutong Press which was owned by Syed Sheikh Al-Hadi
  3. Even though Saudara was published in Penang, it included many articles from various contributors from throughout Malaya and Singapore. 
  4. How did Syed Sheikh manage to obtain articles from contributors at a time when the Malays were divided and there were only telephone and telex as means of communication?
  5. If we look further back into Syed Sheikh's background, it will be clear that Syed Sheikh was born into a family whose father was a teacher. His father was a tutor at the Malay palace in Riau, specifically the palace of Raja Haji and his son Raja Ali Haji. He was already exposed to a lot of life-and-strife issues from small when he lived at the palace and later helped looked after the studies of the princes and accompanied them to Egypt and Makkah. 
  6. When Syed Sheikh returned (but) to Singapore and started his religious teaching, Singapore turned him down for his radical teaching approach. Where did Syed Sheikh go to next?
  7. After Singapore, Syed Sheikh returned to his birthplace, Malacca. Syed Sheikh was born in Kampung Hulu, Malacca. He started the same radical teaching approach in Malacca and suffered the same fate. - the Malacca people turned him down. Where did Syed Sheikh go to next?
  8. (If I have this correct) Syed Sheikh is related to the Penang people, especially the ones in Jelutong Timur, surrounding Masjid Jamek Jelutong. When he started out in Penang, new religious classes were started initially at Masjid Melayu Aceh, which later moved a few places before the final 2 locations in Penang today.

  1. Almashoor was a rich family in early Penang, owning a lot of land, including for setting up a religious school. 
  2. Syed Sheikh married 3 times. Syed Sheikh married to one of the Almashoor daughters as his third wife, Sharifah Zainah al-Mashhur (from the headstones at Kubor Syed of Masjid Jamek Jelutong) and was made the first headmaster of the Madrasah Almashoor, a religious school in Penang which focused on the education of Malay children. 
  3. An early Malay doctor, Dr S. M. Baboo was also involved with the school's activities. 
  4. Both the gentlemen (Syed Sheik and Dr S. M. Baboo) were noted for their 'ilm (knowledge), vision and mission. Both were open-minded and had a wide outlook on life. They were the caring type and especially about education of Malay children.

  1. Syed Sheikh died on 20 February 1934, within a few years of establishing Jelutong Press, and his son, Syed Alwi Alhady (probably) continued his father's efforts in printing. However, Syed Alwi was also involved with Penang politics.
  2. Syed Sheikh was the grandfather of Dr Syed Mohamed bin Alwi Alhady, an eminent early Malay doctor and a much respected gastrosurgeon in Penang. Dr S. M. A. Alhady was attached to the General Hospital in Penang (GH Penang) when he lived in Penang. I had the opportunity to meet with him in Penang in the early 1960s (c.1965-67). He later moved to KL and was involved with business activities.

  1. A short young man and a serious Anglophile, Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim, or better known as Aziz Al-Yamani or Ami Aziz (Uncle Aziz) to his relatives, left Tranquera in Malacca and arrived in Penang, to be with his Penang relatives in Jelutong. 
  2. Abdul Aziz was a publisher but I do not know much about his publishing activities in Penang. 
  3. I do not have exact dates when Ami Aziz moved to Penang but this could be after 1896, i.e. after his eldest nephew Mohd Yusope bin Haji Mohd Sharif was born in Banda Hilir, Malacca. 
  4. Haji Mohd Sharif married Ami Aziz's sister called Patma (Fatimah bt Mohamad). She was either a natural half-sister or an adopted sister of Ami Aziz.
  5. Haji Mohd Sharif had picked up the gold trade from Makkah and was a goldsmith in Banda Hilir, Malacca. Haji Mohd Sharif (c.1874-c.1912) died early at age 38. He left a Will dated 1906. His friends were Imam Khalil and his younger brother Haji Nordin. The 3 men went to Makkah together and returned and made similar Malay houses in Malacca.
  6. Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim was a Radical candidate and had contested for Jelutong versus a famous early Malay doctor, Dr S. M. Baboo who was an UMNO candidate and represented Kelawei in the 1951 election. Both lost. Ami Aziz's wife had also contested and lost. 
  7. What became Ami Aziz and his wife is unknown.
  8. What became of Ami Aziz's political views is unknown. 
  9. What became of Ami Aziz's publishing company is unknown.


Syed Mohamed Alwi al-Hady, 1999a, The life of my father, in G. Alijah (Ed.), The Real Cry of Syed Shaykh al-Hady, Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Sociological Research Institute, 69–83.
  • Syed Mohamed Alwi al-Hady, 1999b, ''Syed Shaykh: Through the prism of a child’s eyes & the Al-Hady clan'', in G. Alijah (Ed.), The Real Cry of Syed Shaykh al-Hady, Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Sociological Research Institute, 85–108.
  • Syed Mohamed Alwi al-Hady, 1999c, Syed Shaykh: A selection of his writings by his son Syed Alwi al-Hady, In G. Alijah (Ed.), The Real Cry of Syed Shaykh al-Hady, Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Sociological Research Institute, 173–237.