RIP: Said Zahari, editor and freedom fighter

Said Zahari, editor and freedom fighter

Said Zahari, journalist and fredom fighter

Said Zahari in an interview with The Malaysian Insider at his home in Kuala Selangor on August 29. 2013. [Photo: TMI-Najjua Zulkefli]

Said Zahari, 1928-2016
journalist and editor

Said Zahari, one-time editor of Utusan Melayu, died earlier today at the age of 88.

Born and raised in Singapore, he was a journalist for Utusan Melayu, the first Malay-language newspaper, and became editor at its main office in Kuala Lumpur in 1959. Two years later, he led a three-month strike to try to preserve its editorial independence from Umno, which had bought the paper.

He was banned from Malaya, and returned to Singapore, going into politics to help form an alternative to Lee Kuan Yew’s People’s Action Party. In February 1963 he joined Partai Rakyat (People’s Party) and was elected to its leadership. That same night, Lee Kuan Yew’s government launched mass arrests under Operation Cold Store clearing the way of opposition to the formation of Malaysia. Said Zahari was held under the Internal Security Act for over 17 years.

On his release, he came to live in Malaysia to be with his family.


» Said Zahari’s Long Nights
A review of Pak Said’s memoirs, Dark Clouds at Dawn