FROM THE GRAPEVINE
More executive-level changes are said to be taking place at the New Straits Times, a little bird said, with a trio of former senior Malay Mail editorial executives moving into high positions. The names mentioned on the gossip circuit are: Yushaimi Yahaya, Najmuddin Najib, and Muzli Mohd Zin.
None of the appointments have yet to be confirmed; none of the trio were available for comment.
Yushaimi Yahaya, former Malay Mail editor and now group editorial adviser, is said to be taking up a new position in charge of the NST’s news operations, reporting to newly-appointed deputy group editor Abdul Rashid Yusof.
If the NST pries him away from the Mail, it may only come after the launch of a massive national promotional effort this month involving the distribution of a million free copies.
• Najmuddin Najib is said to be slated for a position as political editor, leaving the pro-Umno online newspaper Malaysian Digest. He has been editor-in-chief of the Digest only since the middle of the year, joining it from the Mail, where he had been news editor.
As political editor he will fill the gap left by Rashid’s promotion; it is said he will be assisted by Muzli Mohd Zin, currently managing editor (operations) of the Mail.
Najmuddin is the son of former Berita Harian crime editor Najib Abdul Rahman and grandson of inspector-general of police Abdul Rahman Hashim, who was assassinated in 1974. » The day a crime reporter found his father shot.
It was not possible to confirm any of the appointments. However, with a general election fast approaching, it is widely expected that the NST will firm up its news operations to do its part in shoring up the election hopes of Umno and the Barisan Nasional in what is expected to be a keen contest.
One million free copies of Malay Mail
Yushaimi has been part of a team that has been planning the grand giveaway with a million copies distributed free throughout the country. There has also been talk of the paper going free again, although this has been discounted. The publishers, Redberry Group, has also ordered new presses for regional printing in Penang, to put the paper on the breakfast table with up-to-date news.At present the northern edition is sent by lorry, with the paper going to bed at 8pm.
The appointments at Balai Berita, if confirmed, suggest that group editor-in-chief Ahmad A Talib is trying to ensure a hold on editorial affairs, after Jalil had promoted Rashid on Nov 1 on the premature retirement of group editor Syed Nadzri Syed Harun.
The changes at Balai Berita have left Nuraina Samad sidelined as managing editor (features) with editorial supervision only of the features sections and the Sunday paper. After the Nov 1 promotions were announced, she had told friends that she could now go home early.
Business Times to be refloated?
Jalil also promoted Mustapha Kamil Mohd Janor from executive editor (business) to managing editor (business) and there has been speculation that Kamil would be put in charge of refloating Business Times: the paper had begun as the financial section of the Straits Times, then was hived off as a separate newspaper in 1976, before being folded back into the parent newspaper again in 2002.
However, it is likely to be a crowded market, now occupied by The Edge and Financial Daily, the Star’s business section, and Malaysian Reserve. Next year Malaysiakini launches an online business news site, KiniBiz, for which it has begun recruiting editorial staff. KiniBiz is a joint venture between Malaysiakini and former Star business editor P Gunasegaram. In addition, a new business weekly owned by former Star boss Clement Hii is to be launched soon.