DULI YANG MAHA MULIA RAJA ZARITH SOFIAH BINTI ALMARHUM SULTAN IDRIS SHAH
DK. (Johor), SPMJ. (Johor), SPCM. (Perak)
MELTA is deeply honoured and privileged to be graced by the royal patronage of DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah Binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, Permaisuri Johor DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah accepted MELTA’s invitation to become the Royal Patron of the Association on 15 February 2008. DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah is descended from rulers of the Melaka Sultanate. DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah studied at Cheltenham Ladies’ College and was accepted to read Chinese Studies (a four-year undergraduate programme) at Somerville College, University of Oxford, UK. DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah received her Bachelor of Arts Honours degree from the University of Oxford in 1983. DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah is the Pro-Chancellor at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and is involved with many charitable organisations and NGOs.
DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah is the President of Persatuan Pandu Puteri Johor (the Girl Guides of Johor) and Royal Patron of the Spastics School of Johor Bahru and the Rotary Club of Tebrau Foundation. DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah is also Chairman of the Malaysian Red Crescent (MRC) National Community and helps with fund-raising and awareness programmes run by the Malaysian Red Crescent. DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah has a keen interest in writing and has published editorials in Malaysian newspapers. In January 2008, DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah delivered a public lecture in UKM entitled ‘Going Global: The Use of the English Language in 21st Century Malaysia’ in her capacity as a Royal Fellow at UKM. Her Majesty was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in Education by Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia on 23 August 2008. The bestowal of the university’s highest award is a fitting testimony for DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah who has worked selflessly in support of public welfare and educational programmes in Malaysia. DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah has a strong passion for the development of education and she has continuously promoted this through her column in the local media, her public lectures and her active roles in non-governmental voluntary organisations. DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah stands out for her intelligence, eloquence and courage in speaking up for social justice and the plight of the underprivileged and voiceless. DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah is truly a royal with a heart for her people. On 22 July 2017, DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus for her contributions to education and for advocating related causes for the betterment of society.
In an interview with DYMM Raja Zarith Sofiah which was published in The Melta Story in conjunction with MELTA’s 60th anniversary in 2018, Her Majesty spoke about the role of teachers, “Teachers, undoubtedly play a very important role in any society. They mould our children into useful members of a community. In Malaysian society, children as young as three or four years of age are in the hands of teachers from the time they enter kindergarten. They are, for a good part of the day, guardians to our children. For this reason, teachers are important role models. We are what we are because of our teachers and what we have learnt from them.”
(first published in the MELTA Annual 2019)