The theory of a free press


Myanmar Times co-founder held in drug raid

Ross Dunkley, the Australian co-founder of the Myanmar Times newspaper, was arrested during a late-night drug raid at his Yangon home on Wednesday. .

Another foreigner, six men, all Myanmar nationals, and a maid were also arrested. Police said they seized methamphetamine, marijuana and 0.1gm of heroin, other drugs, a range of currencies, 10 handsets and a Range Rover car.

Dunkley, 60, co-founded the Myanmar Times in 2000 with U Sonny Swe, whose father was senior member of the Military Intelligence, and associate of the then printed minister.

In 2014 father and son were arrested in a purge and jailed. They were freed after three years.

After the arrest control of the Myanmar Times was transferred to a close associate of the hardline Information Minister.

In early 2015, Dunkley sold his shares in the paper.


Dress code snags BFM reporter at prime minister’s office

Photos that bring dignity to the battlefield


I felt no sense of mission as a combat photographer. I just felt maybe the guys out there deserved being photographed just the way they are, whether they are running scared, or showing courage, or diving into a hole, or talking and laughing. And I think I did bring a sense of dignity to the battlefield.

David Douglas Duncan, war photographer, 1916-2018


RIP: Ainuddin Dahlan, former Star crime reporter

The late Ainuddin Dahlan with family

The late Ainuddin Dahlan with his brother Othman on the left and sister Azizah, a former reporter with Berita Harian, and wife Karen behind, and sister-in-law Sharifah. [Photo: Aina Ainuddin, Facebook].


My dear friend and ex-colleague Ainuddin Dahlan passed away today after a bout of illness that had bedevilled him for a while.

When I last saw Din some years back, he was already lamenting about his ill health but yet summoned the compassionate energy to visit friends when they lost a beloved kin.

I was with Din at The Star from 1981, when the newspaper was headquartered at Jalan Travers. He wasn’t then the fearsome crime reporter we now know of him.

Din was at that time the Personnel Officer who loved hanging out at the news desk, chit chatting with everyone from the editors to the reporters; he would always have a joke, or a titbit or nugget of gossip handy — and even to the last, he was flashing out jokes on Whatsapp to friends.

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The man who produced the first front page

» RIP – KP Khoo, layout man

Remembering KP Khoo

By Gobind Rudra

Khoo Kay Peng came to Balai Berita from the Echo in 1970 or so, a lanky soft spoken man of few words. He soon stuck up a friendship with poker and bakuteh kakis such as Michael Foong and John Khoo, and some Penang lang like myself and K Sugumaran.

Then in mid 1971 he began holding a series of mysterious meetings involving his former boss KS Choong, the upshot of which was the desertion of Sugu and Koh Su Chun from the Times, and Mohanan Menon, Charlie Chan and KP’s fellow Echo refugee Khoo Teng Guan from the Malay Mail, with Sanny Tan and Tony Rangel from the Echo. In September, after mighty labours, they gave birth to the “impact compact” (a term stolen from the Sun of Fleet Street, with whom we had lifting rights) which scandalised conservative Penang society as well as the Times and the Echo, to the delight of schoolboys, schoolgirls and fellow upstart journos.

The first front page of The Star on Sept 9, 1971

The first front page of The Star on Sept 9, 1971

KP was chief sub and more or less set the tone of the paper with his headings and layouts, to which Teng Guan and I, and later RD Selva, added our share with our own stamp on things, though largely influenced by the scandalous Sun.

KP was to be the mentor of a large pool of young journos when he eventually wandered back to Balai Berita and rose to be the resident guru of subbing and layout. He spent his latter days with the Reserve.

Kay Peng was a lifelong bachelor but he was never lonely, and that little pup that he and the rest of us helped to deliver carries a little bit of him in every copy.

Farewell “Ah Peng”. A beer and fish curry at Kassim Nasi Kandar at 3am and a stroll down the old Gurney Drive the next time we meet.

Gobind Rudra joined the Star in September 1971 and later handled news production of the Sunday edition. He went back to the New Straits Times two years later but rejoined the Star in 1977 where he was later Group Executive Editor, before leaving full-time journalism.

He turned out zingers in print

By Tony Khoo Teng Guan

The man walked softly but he left a distinctive trail. You don’t quite know when he had come into the room but it was always a relief to look up from your work to see him at his desk because you know the next day’s paper will be a zinger with catchy headlines and colourful blurbs. Khoo Kay Peng was quietly spoken and it was always a wonder to me that inside this low-key, almost-introvert, was a big bubble of colour, exuberance and pizzazz. We met when I joined the Straits Echo in Penang as a reporter and he was a sub-editor there with Sanny Tan.

At that time, this was in 1968-69, Kay Peng was already a big fan of the English soccer league and he had written articles and commentary for an English soccer magazine under the name of Vernon Khoo. Without live TV or the internet for research, Kay Peng crafted his English soccer league pieces off the top of his head in his home in Green Lane for a publication in England for British readers. In August of 1971, Kay Peng, Sanny Tan, Gobind Rudra, Sugumaran, Charles Chan, Menon and I joined The Star at Weld Quay, under K. S. Choong and Penang’s first tabloid landed on the streets in September that year.

The team worked 16-hour shifts for months to get The Star out every day. Kay Peng and I crossed paths again in The New Straits Times for a short time some years later until I again left for The Star in 1977. Although we have not seen each other for at least 25 years now, I still maintain a deep respect for Kay Peng’s journalistic skills. Goodbye kawan.

Khoo Teng Guan had left the Echo and was with the Malay Mail when recruited for the founding editorial crew of The Star in Weld Quay, George Town. After a career with the Star, New Straits Times and The (Singapore) Straits Times, he now lives in Sydney with his wife Muriel, a former Bernama, New Straits Times and Star journalist. His father John Khoo, was a fontly-remembered veteran of the Echo, Eastern Sun, New Straits Times and The Star.


RIP – KP Khoo, layout man

Khoo Kay Peng, 1944-2016
former production editor, New Straits Times

KP Khoo, a member of the founding editorial team of The Star and a back-room boy known within the Malaysian English-language press for his design and newspaper production skills, has died at the age of 72 at his home in Kuala Lumpur.

News of his death was reported by his brother, sports journalist Kay Soon, in a msssage to friends and former colleagues on Facebook.

As the first chief sub-editor of The Star, it was Kay Peng who had the distinction of producing the first front-page of Malaysia’s first tabloid newspaper and the first to be printed by the offset printing method. (See » The man who produced the first front page).

He had begun with Penang’s home-town newspaper, The Straits Echo, and had been recruited by the Malaysian edition of the Straits Times. Penang businessman KS Choong, the founder of The Star, approached him to help put together an editorial team and he left in August 1971, taking a couple of reporters and sub-editors from Balai Berita with him.

He served in various capacities with the Star, in its first home at Weld Quay, then at Pitt Street and later rejoined the New Straits Times, being responsible for the first major revamp of the paper under group editor Noordin Sopiee. In the mid-90s The Star, now big and rich, poached him for a revamp of its own which didn’t come about, and KP went back to Balai Berita. In his later years, KP took charge of the production of the Malaysian Reserve.

Khoo Kay Peng, newspaper production journalist


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