Saturday, May 2, 2009

New NSTP head honcho

Group Editorial Adviser. The Italian-backed* Malaysian Insider has a speculative story here that Ahmad A. Talib, the Pahit Manis blogger, will be going back to the New Straits Times Press to restore order.

I've heard something to that effect, too. By next week, all the speculation will be put to rest.

In the meantime, just to put some perspective to the Malaysian Insider's byline-less piece (usually, if there's no byline in MI, then the writer would be Brenden Pereira or Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan himself, but I can't confirm that):
"Both individuals were senior members of the media establishment during the Mahathir era, a period when the Opposition had to be content with footnote coverage and the public was served with daily dose of government speak."
Yes, that's a fact - Johan Jaafar and Ahmad, 57, were major players then. But during that era the de facto media baron was Anwar Ibrahim, Dr M's trusted DPM. Johan Jaafar, in fact, was said to be an Anwar man along with Nazri Abdullah, Khalid Ahmad, and Yunos Said. Ahmad was close to Abdullah Badawi and was widely expected to be made NSTP editorial supremo when Pak Lah became PM. That was before Kalimullah came into the picture and "reluctantly" took up the post of Pak Lah's man in NSTP.
"During the Abdullah years, the media were given more space to criticise government policies and debate contentious issues. But Umno members felt that this policy was misguided because it only opened the ruling party and some of their politicians and institutions to ridicule."
If that's true, then the NSTP under Kalimullah's rule and Brenden's leadership failed to take advantage of that "more space". Instead, the NSTP became a paper to prop up one man and one man only. The Malay Mail (then an NSTP subsidiary) which I headed was turned into a "college paper" not because it was not doing well BUT because it was doing exposes´involving cronies of the PM and for being too critical. I was there, so I know. Kali and Brenden know. Hishammuddin Aun, who could be reporting to Ahmad Talib soon, knows that too.
"Ahmad left the NST in 2004 and was part of senior management which presided over the steepest drop in the newspaper’s circulation."
I can't help grinning at the attempt of a spin here. The NST newspaper's circulation was hovering over 150,000-180,000 for many years. It dropped to 120,000 a day and sometimes lower in the last 4-5 years. It also shrunk in terms of size! The editors believed then that if you go tabloid, the NST would beat The Star in no time. Amateurs. Luckily they managed to sell the tabloids to the schools, otherwise I do not know what the numbers would look like.

When Ahmad Talib was the GE of the NST, he was also responsible for the Malay Mail, which became the fastest-growing daily by 2004. In 2003, the Malay Mail's permit (KDN) was not renewed for three months because they said we were breaking too many rules. Ahmad and I went to the KDN together to bang tables and got back our KDN. Something a lesser GE would not have done!

I shall look forward to the announcement next week.

* Vincenzo is an Italian restaurant in Bangsar that Kalimullah set up (when he was at NSTP and a friend of the Prime Minister) because he didn't know what to do with so much loose change. He wrote about the restaurant lovingly in his column back then. The restaurant advertises heavily in Malaysian Insider.

p.s. For the record, the last real Editorial Adviser to the NSTP was the late Pak Samad.


  1. Dr Mohd Kamal KhirMay 2, 2009 at 5:37 PM

    Congratulation on this new blog, am also anxious to wait for the news on Ahmad Talib.Dr Mohd Kamal Khir

  2. In the interest of full-disclosure, Msian Insider has to name its editors and spell out its convictions. Msia Kini went through this stage of earning its legitimacy. Msian Insider has not.

    We know the identities of the editors of all daily newspapers. Otherwise these shadowy people at Msian Insider are exposing themselves to possible allegations of choosing a cryptic existence. They cannot be accountable to their views if we don't know who are these people.

    To be fair to incoming leaders at NST, they have not started.

    It is common knowledge however that Kalimulah came in and embarked on a protracted purging of NST editors and leading writers. He gave the then PM a bad name despite Pak Lah being well-liked by the media. The attacks on Tun Mahathir were unwarranted. The newspaper under Kali was not at all inclusive. The likes of Kadir Jasin or Ahirudin Atan or Aziz Hassan were kept out when they should be allowed to contribute comment pieces.

    I would like to see Malaysian Insider put up a spirited defence of their leadership of the the NST. You see I am labouring on a suspicion that they are the same people who even managed to foist on the newspaper a racialist element to proceedings.

    The NST has been otherwise a truly Msian experience throughout its existence.


  4. Mat Talib going for GEiC? You must be kidding!

    For a former senior journo, he can't even show up for appointments on time. While I can understand the optimism, it must the prospect of anything not being Kali being better. Kali has brought the bar down so low that even Mat Talib looks like a real catch for NSTP.

    For goodness sake, put Mat Talib where he belongs: at a Charity Organization. Maybe NSTP should have a Foundation (if doesn't already have one) and get Mat Talib to Chair it. That'll be more his thing.

    You appear to be optimistic. I was once optimistic about Mat Talib at one time but after knowing the man, I realize that he just doesn't have it in him. While he's a nice guy to hang around with, nice guys don't necessarily get the job done.

    He should stick with what he knows best. Flying around here and there, taking things easy and spending a lot of time in Bangsar Village.

  5. And where will you be Rocky?

    Many were saying that you are making your way back to the NSTP group?

    How come Malaysian Insider is not writing about your future career?

    Maybe you should 'kam-cheng' with them so that they will also put in a good word for you too?


  6. all the best and take care ahmad talib

  7. Brother, I am happy to read you article on Datuk Ahmad Talib. Ahmad is certainly a true jpurnalist who has sacrificed a lot for journalism. I am sure he and his new team will bring NST back to its glory days.

    Brenden Pereira and Kalimullah Maseerul Hassan are in no position to talk about NST as together, they brought NST to all time low. brenden was plagiarising every known publication there is. I wonder how he managed to fool his editors at Singapore ST for so long while he was working for that paper. He didn't fool us. Kalimullah was using the paper to advance his own business interest. Remember the series of articles on Ekowood, of which he is chairman?

  8. i remembered a few month's ago when i speculated that datuk JJ (johan jaafar) and datuk ahmad talib will be coming back to nst (from my own source), ramai yang ketawakan dan kutuk saya. ada yang kutuk terang-terang dan ada pula yang telefon atau sms. tak seorangpun berani tinggalkan komen dalam blog. ada pula yang tanya mana saya dapat cerita "kelakar" ni.

    kini ... kita tunggu dan lihat ajalah ya.

  9. dear rocky,

    what a load of crock the MI is spinning. Kalimullah was the worst boss NST ever had. He was consumed with malice. He put idiots to head key desks.
    He did NOT care of the NST. He killed the Malay Mail.
    Now,,,what else did he not do? He did not improve the NST.

    and say what> Malaysian Insider is trying hard to make Kali and Brenden look good? Haaah...try harder. Can u imagine....NST under Brenden dismantled the CRIME desk??????

    As for Ahmad Talib -- well, this is his second chance. He must take the challenge... And i hope...he doesn;t take some bad cronies of those who could be slapped with sexual harassment charges.

  10. The 'evil' in MalaysianInsider is trying very hard to fix PahitManis.

    Good try, you losers!!!


  11. Sounds like you are promoting yourself to the powers-to-be at the NST. Can't help sensing your strong desire to be part of that team.

  12. Rocky as I said before if Ali Rustam, Rahim Thamby Kechik, or Muhammad Muhamad Taib were to be retained and won contesting as Umno leaders I will, repeat will, join the opposition party (not PKR), and lucky for me they failed and I am backed serving this government, in a round about way, and I have no problem with my loyalty and leader or leaders should not also have problem with mY loyalty!
    Now then if this government is going to mnake a stupid decision to take back Ahmad A Talib as NSTP adviser, may be it is time for me to quit and the hell with the people who are making decision to make me angry for not real reason!
    No I do not believe Ahmad Talib will be the NSTP adviser! Unless someone wants me to quit!

    No cheers today!

  13. Bru,
    Wat you have a new platform to extend your agenda to rant and rave against your pet peeves! Thot that this blog was to serve the good purpose of the National Press Club...not the grief of its president! Rocky's Bru, at its onset, served a good purpose of presenting, what was then a fair and balanced view of the socio-political situation in the country. Until, of course when it was converted to become a sinister tool, it seems, of a certain UMNO flavoured, jaundiced, mahathirian take on the Abdullah regime. Now, it seems you have hijacked the NPC and its blog site to further advance your own same agenda.


  15. MI is a Tingkat Empat outfits. We can smell it from far. Any adverse about Air Asia will not see print. Any small announcement by Air Asia will be given prominent.

    Who are behind Air Asia? KaliUlar, the Son In Law and gang. What freedom under Pak Lah? Freedom to screw the GLCs and other government agencies for the Singapore operatives benefits.

    Sudahlah! KaliUlar, your days are very numbered!

    Ah Loong

  16. Johan Jaafar the ex Anwarista, ex chicken farmer? Takde ke orang lain? Sliding down slope.

  17. What did Kali and Brendan contribute to NST.

    I am going to publish these figures and I challenge Brendan, Kali and Syed Faisal to dispute it.

    These NST figures were recorded in June while Kali was the GEIC and Brendan was his right hand man.

    Circulation of NST
    1. 131,577 Central: 74,627
    2. 132,775 Central: 75,265
    3. 125,237 Central: 67,207
    4. (sun) 151,967 Central: 82,026
    5. 136,597 Central: 77,110
    6. 134,254 Central: 76,364
    7. 136,678 Central: 77.498
    8. 137,896 Central: 77,531

    There was one public holiday when NST sales went down to just 96,000

    This year, it went down below 100,000

    The central figures included newspapers supplied to hotels, MAS and schools which are being sold at discounted price.

    And these figures were recorded under Brendan Prereira and Kalimullah.

    What happened in 1997/8 should not be blamed on Kadir Jasin and Ahmad Talib.

    Blame in on Anwar Ibrahim. It has nothing to do with the two editors.





  19. Rocky,

    You have more than one blog. But none is of substance. All your blogs contain a lot of unfounded, racist comments from anonymous posts.

    And worse, you support other anonymous blogs like Sarawak Update. Even greater sin to compare Sarawak Update with Malaysiakini. How can you speak of Malaysiakini on the same breathe as such trash? Pleeeeeezzz!!!

    I'm looking forward to a credible, trustworthy blog from a career journalist, Rocky. I'm also looking forward to your blog where you allow only registered users to post comment. Take Tony Fernandez's great example.

    Can I look forward to a Huffington Post from you?


  21. Bro,
    Maybe NSTP should consider buying back MM. I remember we spent lots of time and money bringing MM to Penang, Ipoh, Melaka and JB. If Datuk Ahmad Talib is comong back to the fore, I'm sure he can contribute a lot as he has been there before..... NST I mean. I have lots of affection for the company.

  22. Dear 84 Jalan Tangsians,

    I think 'restoring order' is to put it rather mildly.The entire journo industry need to be uplifted from its doldrums.Nothing short of an open heart surgery can make that happen.

    How many have spoken about up-grading,up-scaling and up-skilling the role of journos or for that matter the media industry in the country...?

    Perhaps this is the beginning of all that matters.I have often lamented that the powers that be at MPI or the media news and broadcast agencies here in Malaysia, need to justifiably invoke a sense of being 'up-wardly' equipped with what its takes to spur the industry to greater heights.

    There has to be a credible benchmarking in the industry where novitiates are not just sent into the streets to cover stories but are rather disinfected and doused with the right dose and attitude, including proper grooming and the ability to interact professionally.Their welfare and well being must also be of prime importance to their employers.

    Sad to say that has not been the case.Needless to say that, we all kknow and profess that the media plays a pivotal role in nationbuilding but if the powers that be are just incensed and akin to look after thier own skins and the accumulation of wealth for their personal treasure-chests then who is there to champion the welfare, well-being and the attributes of a journo or the like-mindedness of industry players.

    Perhaps the new team that has been hand-picked to bring about changes for the future of this nation must henceforth identify and alleviate the industry to greater heights.

    If Ahmad Talib (AAT) is coming on board, I wish him every success in making the necessary changes.The industry needs to be driven and brought back to its glorious benchmark.

    Taking a leaf out of Dr.Rais comments, for the media...more human interest stories need to be covered instead of the mundane 'pr exercises for politicians' which are often 'paid editorials'...I am sure that sounds familiar.

    Lets be objective about the issues at hand.

    The Iron Duke @ Steady Eddie


    by Mitch Al-Bomb AKA Brenden Kali Pirah

    Hey Bro,

    Life is swell
    Down here in Melbourne
    KL can go to hell
    In war you die or get burnt

    Only in Malaysia
    Can I make my millions
    In Singapore or Australia
    A chance in a million

    Forget Malaysia my 2nd home,
    Over there they have Starbucks and the Dome,
    Aborigines and gnomes,
    AUSTRALIA the place my wife and kids call home

    Betol kah Brenden off to Australia?

  24. Having worked in the NST for many years now, I have seen the paper fall from glory to what it is today. I have always loved the NST and have given it my best. As a journalist, I am proud to say that I had even risked my life to get stories for this paper. At that time, it was an honour and I was proud to work in such a great paper. However, over the years this changed and everyone who helmed the NST after the glory years were keen only on either promoting their own agendas or enriching themselves. In fact, the NST is like a cow which has been milked so much, theres only blood left. Even if anyone were to return to the helm now, I feel it would be the same as long as it remains a government-controlled paper. On a personal note, I feel AAT has the ability to run the paper. However, he cannot do it alone and must ensure he gets himself a credible team to head the desk. We must do away with promotions based on favouritism and whose camp etc you belong to. If you speak to any of the senior journalists in the NST, they will tell you the same thing - that only kissing ass takes you places in the NST. However, if AAT gives those who deserve it a fair chance, I am confident that despite the governmental restaints, we will still be able to give the reader a fair bit of what they want to read. At the moment, I dont know what to expect and hope that AAT will play his cards right. There are still a fair number of us working in the NST who love the paper and soldier on each day to do our best for this once great Goliath. To AAT, all the best Sir and May The (Good) Force Be With You!

  25. U balik MM ker? Sebagai CEO?
    Macam mana dgn Tony Perancis dan kuncu-kuncunya?

  26. Pleaselah Ahmad Talib going back to NST? He will further accelerate the demise of that 150odd years newspaper. Everybody knows AT as a lazy fellow. He can even ask reporters coming back from assignments to go with him for tea, hell with the deadlines?
    He arguably institutionalised padded claims by reporters. Ask him what happened to all the money (I heard nearly RM1million) NST advanced him for the trip to Baghdad which never materialised? Instead he was chauferred around in Amman Jordan with an interpreter. He did not even put up his claim to account for what he spent, mainly because he can't justify spending so much money.
    Ask him about recommendation made by NST Marketing Advisor, Lim Chee Seng who had worked with Rejal and Fauzi to revive Malay Mail. That recommendation never see the light because Ahmad Talib sat on it.
    Ask him also about how he lobbied to take over GE job from Rejal Arbee at BH merely because BH has two very glamourous events - the fishing competition (GP Joran) and the Anugerah Bintang Popular which he hoped to use for his own ends. Of course he was not successful and Rejal continued to finish his contract till end of April 2003. Rejal had earlier refused to extend his contract until end of Oct 2003 as requested by Dollah Badawi so that come Nov 1st when he becomes PM he could put his man to take over from Rejal.
    Rejal knew of the ploy and refused and the mistake made by Rejal was to recommend Hishamuddin to take over from him bypassing his no 2 then Mior Kamarulbaid and three other senior staffs Hafifi Hafiz, Tajuddin as well as Zian who were all senior to Hisham.
    And what did Hishim do to Rejal? He axed Rejal Wednesday's column in BH at the bidding of the 4th floor boys because Rejal had continued to write anti-Singapore pieces.

  27. To Mr Anonymous May 6 2009 1:25AM.

    Please get your facts right. Don't leave comments simply because you heard rumours or read about it somewhere.

    For a fact, that money for Joint Media Team Malaysia, which was led by Ahmad A Talib, was relayed straight there.

    Ahhh, I'm sorry, but would you carry almost 1million with you to Baghdah?

    Welcome to the wonderful world of electronic banking.

  28. Nobody ever said anything about AT physically bringing that RM1million to Baghdad. So don't cloud the issue. My contention was that that fund was made available to him for which he later did not account for.
    As that so difficult for you to understand?