Big changes in Malaysia media landscape

By News Desk | Source: The Straits Times
Major changes are taking place in the Malaysian media landscape.

The Star, Malaysia’s biggest English-language newspaper, yesterday re-launched its new website which, for the first time, will include opposition columnists.

There have also been movements of many journalists in online media in the last few weeks, and even more movements could be expected with the rise of a new cable television network.

The Star, among the first Malaysian mainstream newspapers to go to the Internet, has “a cleaner look and less clutter” on its relaunched website, said online editor Philip Golingai.

It will have its own bank of columnists including a Malacca lawyer from the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and a young cleric from Umno. The Star, which is owned by the MCA, will also, on the website, have two men from the opposition camp as columnists.

One is a first-time MP from the Democratic Action Party, Ong Kian Ming. Another columnist is billed by the website as “writer, performer and political activist” Fahmi Fadzil. Fahmi is also political secretary to opposition MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.

The Star‘s relaunched website will have to compete for eyeballs with other players in a crowded field.

One is an old competitor, The Malay Mail newspaper, which raised its online presence recently by poaching more than 20 staff from The Malaysian Insider news website. The Mail, owned by the Redberry group, launched its online site last week.

The Insider, in turn, poached seven journalists from New Straits Times newspaper.

There has also been a reshuffling of senior journalists.

The Star‘s former executive editor, Wong Sai Wan, has joined Redberry, which Syed Nadzri Syed Harun, the former group editor-in-chief of NST, joined several months ago.

Meanwhile, The Malay Mail‘s managing editor Terence Fernandez will soon move to fz.com, a socio-political website owned by the publisher of The Edge business weekly.

More movements of journalists are expected with the recent launch of a new cable TV network, ABNxcess, controlled by businessman Kenneth Eswaran.

A news report said ABNxcess is seeking 800 staffs, including broadcast journalists and producers, in a bid to take on Malaysia’s sole satellite pay-TV operator Astro.