Wednesday, April 23, 2008
A-political Malay Mail
The malaysianinsider.com, run by mostly people who were once on the payroll of the New Straits Times Press, has this exclusive story.
'Malay Mail' to be political sheet
KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — The Malay Mail, the Kuala Lumpur daily that has seen better days in its 112-year history, will turn into a political afternoon newspaper focused on Pakatan Rakyat-ruled states when relaunched May 5.
The Simpletech-Gabungan Kesturi consortium that bought The Malay Mail from NSTP Berhad has appointed industry veteran Tony Francis as editor with the tabloid's old news editor Frankie D'Cruz as consultant.
The Malaysian Insider has also learnt that former The Star political correspondent K. Baradan is
helming The Malay Mail's political desk and is looking to hire reporters for states under the Pakatan governments.
The tabloid, which will continue to cover sports and entertainment news, has offered to retain its staff who were earlier employed by NSTP. The media giant sold the newspaper after revamps failed to stem falling circulation.
But the new owners are optimistic the newspaper's new direction and return to afternoon editions to be sold in the Pakatan Rakyat states will bring it back to black. They also expect higher revenues from the Euro 2008 football championships this June.
Simpletech's owner Datuk Ibrahim Mohamed Nor (picture left, taken from sirloinskipper fotopages) is a politically-connected businessman with a stake in Blue Inc that owns string of lifestyle magazines. Gabungan Kesturi is a substantial shareholder of public-listed Media Prima Berhad, which in turn is a major shareholder in NSTP Berhad.
NSTP sold The Malay Mail for less than the sticker price of RM15 million, while keeping its valuable archives of reports and photos gathered since the paper's first hit the streets on December 14, 1896.
The new owners have opted for experience when they chose editor Tony Francis who used to be New Straits Times chief news editor after decades in the sports desk. His last job was editor-in-chief of sports weekly The Malaysian Today.
Frankie D'Cruz was news editor when The Malay Mail regularly hit 100,000 in circulation in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He left in 1993 to found English-language free sheet The Leader owned by the Utusan Group.
The newspaper's relaunch will be at the Nikko Hotel, sources said.