Zainon Munshi Sulaiman

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Zainon Munshi Sulaiman (born Zainun binti Sulaiman; January 22, 1903 – April 2, 1989), also called Mrs Zain or Ibu Zain, was a Malaysian politician and teacher.[1][2] Born in Malacca, the sixth of eight children, she received a good education through the efforts of her father, Munshi Sulaiman.[3] In 1909 she became a pupil at the Methodist Girls' School, Tengkera, going on to Tengkera School for her secondary education in 1913. By the age of seventeen, she was running her own school at Pasuh Jaya in Negeri Sembilan.

In 1921, she became a teacher at Maharani City Girls' School in Muar, where in 1924 she became head teacher. Later, she founded the Malay School Teachers Association, of which she became president. In 1927 she was appointed Supervisor of Johor State Girls' Schools.[3] She headed the Johor chapter of the Malay Women Teachers Association from 1930 to 1949. On their behalf, in 1932, she founded Bulan Melayu, a Jawi publication for women teachers, in response to Majalah Guru, a similar periodical intended for men. She became its manager and editor, using it to draw attention to the position of women, with the stated aims of "assisting fellow women, whether those working at home or those working outside" and bringing “enlightenment to the Malay world".[4]

During the Japanese occupation of Malaya, she learned Japanese in order to help communicate with the enemy, and organised support activities for maltreated women.[1]

In 1948 she entered politics, representing Johor in the State Assembly, and in the general election of 1959 she was elected to represent Pontian Selatan. Meanwhile, in 1950, she became a member of the UMNO General Assembly.[3] She was the only woman to attend the Malay-Indonesian Conference of 1953.

She who was an independence campaigner and had a father who died of diabetes when was young married Amin bin Haji Ahmad in 1934.[5] Their eldest daughter, Adibah Amin (born 1936), became a writer. Younger children included a daughter, Fadzilah, and a son, Sulaiman Shakib, who were all involved in education.[5] Ibu Zain died aged 86, and was buried at the Mahmoodiah Royal Mausoleum.

Awards and recognitions[edit]

Honour of Malaysia[edit]

Places named after her[edit]

Several places were named after her, including:


  1. ^ a b Abdul Rahman Haji Abdullah (1997). Pemikiran Islam di Malaysia: sejarah dan aliran. Gema Insani. pp. 180–. ISBN 978-979-561-430-2.
  2. ^ Azmi Arifin; Abdul Rahman Haji Ismail. ‘Di sebalik tabir’ sejarah politik Malaysia 1945-1957 (Penerbit USM). Penerbit USM. pp. 29–. ISBN 978-967-461-093-7.
  3. ^ a b c "ainun Sulaiman (Mother Zain)". Wanita UMNO (in Malay). Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Women's Magazines in Malaysia". Sejarah Wanita. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat".