KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 (Bernama) -- The contributions made by Sharifah Azah Mohamed Alsagoff, better known Azah Aziz, to the preservation of Malay culture would always be cherished and appreciated, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Describing the death of the cultural activist today as a big loss and irreplaceable, Muhyiddin said Azah, who was also known as Mak Ungku, was determined and committed in her efforts to preserve Malay culture.
"The government is forever grateful for her contributions, moreover, the name Azah Aziz is synonymous with Malay culture which needs to be protected from extinction," he said in a statement to Bernama here.
Azah, 84, died of old age and a stroke at about 10am Monday.
Muhyiddin also extended his condolences to Azah's family on their loss.
Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, in his Facebook and Twitter accounts, said the cultural icon would never be forgotten for her struggles for the country's culture, language and art of weaving.
Former Information Minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin described the death of the wife of Royal Professor Ungku Abdul Aziz and mother of Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz as the loss of a cultural personality who would be difficult to be replaced.
"She was well-versed with pantun and produced pantun which cannot be compared to others, for example her pantun have long graced the covers of MAStika magazine," he said.
Zainuddin said Azah, who was also a writer, had a love of collecting old songket and deeply appreciated local culture and literature.
"She was responsible for guiding me when I wrote a book titled 'Tun Razak: Jejak Bertapak Seorang Patriot'.
"Besides that, credit also goes to her for the Pancaindera pullout in Mingguan Malaysia when I was editor of Utusan Melayu," he added.
Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) chief executive officer, Datuk Chamil Wariya said Azah was a teacher in feature writing who had guided and taught him a lot in writing feature articles.
"She was committed and very open-minded when she served as sub-editor at Utusan Melayu's Features Desk in 1973.
Malaysian National Writers Association (PENA) president Dr Salleh Rahaman, when contacted, said Azah was a woman who fought hard for women and to uphold Malay arts and culture.
Former Berita Harian editor Zubaidah Abdul Rahman described Azah as a humble mentor.
Having known each other since their school days in the 1960s, Zubaidah said she frequently asked Azah for opinions on her writing.
Azah with Ungku Aziz during the launching of his book "Glimpse of the Past" in 2009 at the Faculty of Art & Social Sciences.