Za'ba or Zainal Abidin bin Ahmad, born in 1895, is a language figure as well as the pioneer of Malay language grammatical rules in Malaysia.
Born into a religious family, not surprisingly, Za'ba had completed his reading of the Quran seven times by the age of 7. He was the first Malay student from Negeri Sembilan who completed standard one to Senior Cambridge in 6 years.
Za'ba started writing seriously while he was serving as a temporary teacher at Johor Bahru in 1916. His gift was his ability to bring all aspects from language, literature, religion, economy, education and politics into his writings.
Za'ba focused his effort to adopt the Arabic and English grammar into Bahasa Melayu while he was working at the Sultan Idris Training College. He used these grammatical rules in the publishing of school text books and public reading materials.
Za'ba received the title Pendeta (Scholar) officially, in the form of songkok (a Malay cap), in 1956 at the Third Malay Language and Literature Congress in Johor Bahru. In 1962, he was awarded the award of Pingat Mangku Negara that carries the title Tan Sri.
Za'ba passed away in 1973 at the age of 78. It is not easy to follow the footsteps of a scholar but it is hoped that Zaba's effort and sacrifice to upgrade the Malay Language would be continued.
Date of Issue : 17 Sep 2002
Postmark : Kuala Lumpur
Denomination : 30 sen and 2 x 50sen
Stamp Size : 40mm x 30mm
Paper : SPM Watermarked, Phosphor Coated
Printing Process : Lithography
A LIL' NOTE
The House of Pendeta Za'ba, also known as Teratak Za'ba in local tongue, is a historic residence that records the life and times of Za'ba. Situated about 50km from Seremban, this museum is one of the places of interest in Negeri Sembilan.
Address : Teratak Za'ba, Kampong Bukit Kerdas, Daerah Jempol, 72200 Batu Kikir, Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus, Malaysia.