Monday, March 13, 2006

Wartawan Kanan Tinggalkan NSTP

A Kadir Jasin

HAMPIR 60 orang wartawan kumpulan New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd, termasuk beberapa pengarang kanan, meletakkan jawatan berkuat kuasa 1 Mac lalu.

Mereka berbuat demikian di bawah skim VSS (voluntary separation scheme) yang terbaru yang ditawarkan oleh kumpulan akhbar itu. Kesemuanya 216 kakitangan daripada pelbagai jabatan meletakkan jawatan.

Antara wartawan kanan yang meletakkan jawatan adalah Mohd Zian Johari, pengarang eksekutif Berita Minggu (BM), Mohd Fadzil Abdullah, ketua penyunting BM, Zam Zam Omar, pengarang keluaran khas Berita Harian (BH), Ali Mansor Aman, penolong pengarang Harian Metro (HM) dan Metro Ahad (MA) dan Mustafa Albakri Baharom, pengarang rencana HM.

Kesemuanya 20 orang wartawan yang bekerja dengan akhbar-akhbar berbahasa Melayu yang meletakkan jawatan adalah Melayu kecuali seorang Kadazan.

Antara wartawan kanan akhbar-akhbar berbahasa Inggeris yang meletakkan jawatan adalah Ahirudin Attan, pengarang eksekutif Malay Mail (MM) dan Sunday Mail (SM), Nuraina Abdul Samad, timbalan ketua pengarang berita New Straits Times (NST), Muharyani Othman, pengarang berita NST, Aishah Ali, pengarang bersekutu SM dan Saleha Ali, pengarang Sunday Magazine.

Turut berhenti adalah Lazarus Karunakaran Rokk, pengarang sukan NST, Dazman Manan, pengarang isu-isu wanita dan fesyen NST, Leonard Pasqual, penolong ketua penyunting NST, Anthony Mariadas, pengarang sukan MM, Zulkifli Othman, pengarang berita NST dan Zainal Alam Kadir, pengarang hiburan MM.

Daripada kira-kira 40 orang wartawan yang meletakkan jawatan daripada akhbar-akhbar berbahasa Inggeris, separuh daripadanya adalah Melayu.

Ini adalah peletakan jawatan beramai-ramai yang membabitkan paling banyak wartawan, khasnya Melayu. Ada antara mereka yang telah berkhidmat dengan kumpulan itu selama lebih 30 tahun.

Peletakan jawatan kali ini turut membabitkan 39 orang daripada jabatan iklan, pemasaran dan pengedaran dan 35 daripada jabatan percetakan.

Sementara itu prestasi saham NSTP di Bursa Malaysia terus merosot. Harga tutup minggu lalu ialah RM2.19 berbanding paras tertinggi RM7 pada tahun 2002 dan RM6 pada tahun 2004.

Pendukung utama NSTP sekarang adalah Datuk Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan sebagai Timbalan Pengerusi merangkap Penasihat Jabatan Pengarang, Datuk Hishamuddin Aun, Ketua Pengarang Kumpulan (GEIC) dan Brendan Pereira, Pengarang Kumpulan NST Sdn Bhd.

The Police Here and There

In Thailand, the police spokesman wanted the Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra to, resign amidst mounting protest against his administration.

In Malaysia, the head of police wanted the people to stop protesting against the 30-sen (18.52 per cent) petrol, diesel and LPG price increase.

“I Know You’re Angry”

Now that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Bahawi knows that the people are angry with the Government for raising the price of fuel heftily, what is he going to do about it?

He said he would soon announce measures to lessen the burden of those adversely affected.

A lot of people were also angry over the videotaping of a woman in the Pataling Jaya police lock-up. The PM formed an independent committee to investigate the incident.

He also promised to form the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as recommended by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police. That’s the last we heard of it.

Admitting that the people are angry is one thing. Announcing measures to overcome their hardship (if and when it happens) is another. The real test, however, is whether the measures promised will be fulfilled.

To Subsidise Or Not To Subsidise

Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, was upset that there were people who linked the RM4.4-billion-a-year savings from the fuel price increase to the financial needs of the national airlines Mas.

Maybe Najib was not aware of the coincidence -- that on the day the fuel price increase took effect (Feb. 28), Mas Managing Director Idris Jala was widely reported that the national airlines needed RM4 billion in working capital and he hoped the Government would provide half of it. Both news items were on front page of The Star.

Why 30 sen and in one go? It would have been less burdensome if is done in, say, three installments of 10 sen. Each installment will save the Government RM1.47 billion.

Fuel prices have been on the way up, but never at this rate. So the anger of the people and the inflationary effects are obvious.

This is another facet to the knowledge-based economy (K-economy) that the Government is promoting. The people will challenge its decision based on the knowledge and information at their disposal.

17 comments:

tokdalang said...

an astute observation on nst that more than half who left under the VOLUNTARY separation scheme are malays.

what does that say, that they have to be paid to quit, they won't leave on their own accord and no one else wants them or wants to poach them.

sad, isn't it? time we got rid of this subsidy mentality, even in resignation.

Al-mu Syahrisyawal Ahmad said...

"Wartawan Kanan Tinggalkan NSTP"

And so it ends...

Melayu Lama said...

It is not surprising that the police made such comments even though most of their personnel would fall into the category of people needing to adjust their lifestyle. But that should come as no surprise as with such increases it would certainly be a good reason for the police officers to source for "side income" to cope with such increses in their day to day expenses. Who knows, such a statement by the police could even be their pre-emptive answer should their integrity be in question in the near future.

On the issue of our PM, it is quite clear, after almost 2 and 1/2 years in office, he lacks the drive of our former PM Dr. M. Say what you like about the old man but he is one who can make ideas on paper beocme reality (even it means it comes at the expense of the integrity of is party and it's members). But the hard fact remains that he has set a standard so high that it has Pak Lah seem mediocre, and somewhat lethargic, in comparison. And the fact that the cabinet is nothing more than a mere rubber stamp for every decision made by the PM it makes the role of our ministers seem redundant. Perhaps one can blame that on Dr. M, he was so forceful with his subordinates during his 22 years in office that he has set a precendent and all his ministers (as well as Pak Lah's ministers) have become as obidient to Pak Lah as they were to him. The difference is, of course, that Dr. M seemed to know what he was doing most, if not all, of the time as opposed to our current premier who seems rahter oblivious to his surroundings.

Perhaps a man who seems so passionate about batik and Islam Hadhari should better serve us as Minister of Culture, Arts & Heritage or Islamic Affairs rather than sitting at the boss' chair.

Even the justification given by our No.2 was no intelligent answer either. In any case, anyone with a good understanding of Economics and Maths would find the remarks "adjust your lifestyle" insulting.

What is there to adjust? We live in a country with relatively inefficient or incomplete public transport networks. Our commuters, like it or not need cars and bikes to get around everyday. Sure we have LRT's and monorails etc. but how good are they really? The fact that one has to drive to the LRT station to catch the train is sufficient enough to show how dependent we are on self-owned motor vehicles. Feederbuses might sound good on paper but do they serve all residential areas. To date there are plenty of new housing ares without proper bus services. These include places with low and low-medium cost housing. These are the people that are feeling the pinch right now. They need their cars and bikies just get around daily.

I am really curios to see how long it takes for the PM to take his "we're going to improve the public transport" idea to even the conceptual stage and I'm not even talking about implementation, just the conceptual stage. If it takes close to half a year for him to probe lock-up squatting cases, imagine how long it'll take for him to conceptualize something a complex as public transportation for the masses.

Zainal A. Kasim said...

Datuk menyebut beberapa kali di dalam blog ini berkaitan dengan wartawan kanan "MELAYU" meninggalkan Kumpulan NST. Mungkin secara kebetulan atau pun mungkin ada maksud yang tersirat.

Bagi saya, ini bukan sekadar kebetulan, namun situasi yang menggambarkan suasana persekitaran ekonomi kita yang kurang memberangsangkan sejak akhir-akhir ini. Kitaran ekonomi yang berkaitan antara satu sama lain menyebabkan keperluan kepada Kumpulan NST untuk menawarkan VSS kepada kakitangannya. Kurangnya perbelanjaan ke atas periklanan, meningkatkanya kos pengeluaran serta penguncupan dari segi permintaan ke atas langganan bahan-bahan terbitan kumpulan ini mungkin menjadi antara sebab utama mengapa tindakan memberi VSS terpaksa dilakukan.

Dari satu sudut, saya merasa kasihan kepada rakan-rakan di NST yang terpaksa meninggalkan kerja mereka dan gaji lumayan sebagai wartawan kanan. Namun, dari satu sudut lain, saya harap mereka melihat ini sebagai sesuatu yang positif. Duit VSS yang pastinya banyak (mungkin mencapai ratusan ribu ringgit untuk wartawan kanan) boleh digunakan untuk memulakan sesuatu yang baru. Perniagaan umpamanya, atau membina kumpulan pemasaran rangkaian (network marketing) yang sejak azali menjanjikan pulangan yang lumayan. Saya doakan kesejahteraan mereka.

Kepada Kumpulan NST, sesuatu perlu dilakukan. Sebagai pembaca tetap 6 akhbar setiap hari (The Star, BH, UM, Harian Metro, Kosmo dan NST), saya dapati The Star terlalu jauh meninggalkan NST dari segi kualiti berita dan kepuasaan pembacaan. Bagi saya, pemberitaan dan persembahan perlu selari dengan kepuasaan pelanggan. Politiking juga perlu seimbang dengan butir-butir yang jelas serta disokong fakta tanpa usaha-usaha "spinning" yang keterlaluan...

http://c-bok.blogspot.com

dignity2u said...

Dear Datuk

My family wants to share this with you:

The teachings of Confucius apply to any society or country, race or religion regardless.

Confucius’ teachings on “The Commonwealth State” carry this meaning:

• That able people become leaders of business organizations

• That these business operations benefit the people in the community

• That these business organizations share the wealth by providing jobs that can feed families and educate the young

• That these business organizations serve to protect the weak, the poor, the handicapped and the widowed

Today, we hear criticisms, doubts and suspicions about the way companies are run and the way the regulators function.

When companies are bought, sold or merged, we ask “Who gains?”
The shareholders?
The business advisers?
The employees?
The citizens of this country?

When companies lay off their employees, we ask "Did the owners fulfil their moral duty?"

A KADIR JASIN said...

Thank you for your comments. I think it is not fair to burden everyhting on the PM or to blame him for every ill we now suffer.

Many people were happy to see Tun Dr Mahathir gone.They thought he stayed too long. But it now seems that some of us are missing him.

What good are the Ministers -- there are 32 of them -- if they don't help the PM?

Now that the PM had openly given the BN MPs the green light to speak on "hot issues", let us hear them make sense of our problems and predicaments.

Please stop treating the Parliament like a private zoo.

Melayu Lama said...

Datuk, in response to your comment that the PM should not be blamed for every ill we are suffering from, I believe that to be true to a certain extent. No one person is without streanghts and weaknesses. It was with that thought in mind that I was rather impressed by our premier when I had the opportunity to read an article entitled "Fuel price dominates meeting of BN MP's" in the today's NST website. It spoke of Pak Lah's willingness to listen to the MP's views on issues as hot as the recent fuel price increase. Although this might sound good on paper, again, realizing it is another thing all together.

It would be easy for a premier to ask for feedback from the MP's but will the MP's be giving him the true and actual picture of what really concerns their constituents?

It is somewhat of a glaring fact that some, if not most, BN MP's / STate Assemblymen are out of touch with their constitutents the minute they win their seat.

I have personally experienced it for myself, both as one who canvesses for votes (campigning) and as a constituent / voter. It is a norm in this country or perhaps anywhere else around the world that candidates will promise us the moon and the stars for our support but when it comes to crunch time (fulfulling election promises) they dissappear.

It is people like this that shut the flow of information between us the people and our leaders (such as the PM). When the truth is not disclosed to the PM then our woes will never be heard.

I was once an active UMNO Youth member at the divisional level at one point in time. My family roots traces back to, like your goodself Datuk, rice farmers. My Grandfather was an active UMNO member at the branch level of his kampung. This however skipped a generation as my Father was not interested in politics. As for me, I chose to join UMNO for it's values of yesteryear. Unfortunately, those values are no longer in existence. UMNO today has become so closed that the people's feedback to the party and is leaders are virtually unheard.

Excuse the side-track, but getting back to the issue at hand. It is true what you say of Parliament being nothing more than a zoo when all MP's do (if they actually turn up) is bicker over petty things. A fine case in point was the passing of the Syariah Bill which was soppossedly so hotly protested by our female BN MP's. If they truly represent their constituents, they should have voted accordingly. Perhaps in today's parliament the loyalty to the party comes at the expense to representing the constituents. I have, in the past until today, always believed that the MP's should be representing first their constituents and then their respective parties.

Until the BN and UMNO, in particular, gets their information flow clear only then will our premier see the true light of day. It is a good gesture by our PM to allow such issues to be debated in parliament without any mention of "the whip".

It is probably from feedbacks from irresponsible MP's that our premier made this rather unintelligent comment (shown on the Information Ministry website today): "Sekiranya minyak murah, rakyat tidak akan berjimat cermat menggunakan minyak dan kita bimbang sumber minyak akan berkurangan dan kita akan menjadi negara pengimport minyak pula."-YAB PM.

It remains to be seen if that comment was based on Pak Lah's own assumptions or if they were based on the feedback from his MP's. Let us find out for sure once parliament is back in session.

teo sue ann said...

After coming out from the university with a degree of Journalism in my hand, I admit that I was rejected to get a position as a reporter (as one of my lecturer always said that in Malaysia, those work for the press are only capable to be a reporter and not a 'journalist').

The editior at The Star Northern Hub, Penang wasn't hesitated to tell me that my vocabulary was weak and my grammars is really bad during an interview, while NSTP never really bothered to answer my resume.

No, I am not a disgruntled reader that try to take up this oppurtunity to make your day, sir. It's just that after blow by blow of rejections, I had finally came up with the conclusion that my passion to be a reporter would never be enough. Yet the acts of those reporters had clearly reflected their indifferences about their job responsibilties. It is sad to see that they had forgottened about their own passion of reporting , which I really want to believe that they once had.

Is this what had become of the mainstream press of our country? Is the skills more important than brain and passion? I'm sorry sir, but I'm really confused.

AnakBalaiBerita said...

Kalau tak silap saya, ini ialah kali kedua kakitangan NSTP ditawarkan VSS. Sebelum ini ada juga tawaran skim VSS semasa Datuk memegang jawatan Ketua Pengarang Kumpulan.

Ada yang berbeza pendapat mengenai VSS tapi yang nyata ia adalah satu skim voluntary. Siapa yang berminat akan membuat tawaran untuk berhenti secara suka-rela.

Seperti yang Datuk katakan, ramai di antara mereka terdiri dari wartawan kanan. Dengan ertikata lain, mereka telah lama berkhidmat di NST. Hatta, 'pampasan'yang mereka terima adalah besar berdasarkan kepada masa lama perkhidmatan dan gaji terakhir (wartawan kanan lazimnya bergaji tinggi). Oleh itu mereka boleh digolongkan kepada kumpulan beruntung. Besar kemungkinan juga ramai yang sudah dapat kerja di tempat lain seperti Ahirudin Atan yang kini berkhidmat di syarikat Datuk.

Mungkin ada hikmahnya mereka ini keluar dari NST. Setelah kian lama mereka mencurahkan keringat untuk memajukan syarikat, namun syarikat masih berada di takuk yang lama.

Saya masih teringat zaman kegemilangan NST pada tahun sebelum 1998. Sebutharga saham NST di BSKL mencecah RM18 seunit. NST juga selama enam tahun berturut turut merekodkan keuntungan. NST dapat memberi dividen sebanyak 25% kepada pemegang saham. Pekerja pun turut gembira sebab mendapat ex-gratia dan bonus di antara satu hingga empat bulan. Bukan itu saja, jualan suratkhabar kumpulan NST sangat tinggi dan mendahului pencabar terdekatnya seperti STAR dan Utusan Malaysia.

Malangnya semuanya hancur berderai setelah akhbar NST mula melibatkan diri dalam kancah politik melalui episod Anwar Ibrahim. Di sinilah titik permulaan kehancuran NST. Penjualan mula menjunam, Syarikat mula dihantui oleh kerugian dan politik negara menyelar masuk ke dalam NST.

Kalau Datuk berpeluang berjumpa dengan bekas kakitangan NST terutama mereka yang berkerja sewaktu zaman Datuk Junus Sudin, Datuk Zakuan Mohamed Ariff dan Datuk Nik Ibrahim kamil, mereka sering menceritakan tentang zaman kegemilangan NST. Semuanya berakhir dengan kemasukan Datuk Rahman Maidin........

gadingaluh said...

Datuk, if the PM is not to be blame for all the 'not so good things happening' now, than who is?

Desmond said...

Wow is this why the English newspaper missed out on the King's speech during the opening of the Malaysian Parliament yesterday?

Anonymous said...

Saya tidak menganggap tindakan wartawan NSTP mengambil VSS sebagai sesuatu yang pelek sekiranya pemegang saham syarikat tidak pun mempersoalkan perkara itu. Jika pemegang saham syarikat setuju dengan tindakan syarikat, tidak ada siapa yang boleh membantah. Setakat ini pemegang saham tidak berkata apa-apa, jadi boleh dikatakan tindakan syarikat direstui dan mereka juga tidak membantah wartawan kanan syarikat meninggalkan syarikat. Pemegang saham juga nampaknya tidak mengambil kisah soal imej syarikat walaupun tahu tidak ada syarikat akhbar lain yang menjalankan VSS. Persoalannya apakah mereka juga tidak peduli apa juga yang akan berlaku kepada NSTP?. Ini adalah kali ketiga dalam tempoh kurang empat tahun, NSTP membuat VSS. Apabila syarikat menghadapi masalah kewangan, maka tindakan VSS diambil. Bila syarikat ingin mengurangkan kos, tindakan VSS dilaksanakan. Sasarannya adalah pekerja. Selepas ini, apakah pekerja juga yang akan menjadi mangsa?. Apakah majikan tidak sedikit pun melihat diri sendiri. Sekiranya perbelanjaan melebihi untung, janganlah salahkan pekerja semata-mata. Majikan perlu melihat kesalahan yang mereka lakukan. ATanyalah diri sendiri apakah cara mereka menguruskan syarikat menjadi punca kepada segala masalah syarikat. Jika dahulu, NSTP mampu mengumpul banyak harta setelah mendapat keuntungan yang besar, mengapa hari ini syarikat tidak boleh mendapat untung. Majikan perlu mengkaji kelemahan mereka sendiri, bukan menuding jari kepada pekerja. Sekiranya bercadang untuk menjalankan VSS sekali lagi, pihak pengurusan kanan harus membuat permohonan berundur secara sukarela tanpa perlu disuruh kerana merekalah yang wajar dipersalahkan. Pekerja hanya menjalankan tugas yang mereka arahkan. Jika pihak pengurusan salah memberi panduan, maka binasalah syarikat. Mat Union.

Anonymous said...

why the emphasis on race? perhaps you could share with us the breakdown, on races, that work with the nst?

Anonymous said...

Has Kadir forgotten that it was during his time that senior journalists began leaving in droves. No exageration.

The rot set in during his time when he ruled with an iron hand - being the owner, and all.

He pursued selective persecution against those he thought were a threat. Many branded him a racist and accused him of building a "wall" to build his kingdom of "kow tow" journalists and keep away certain journalists, he feared.

Morale was at an all-time low then - although some say it is worse now under Kali. Whatever!

When the senior journalists kept leaving, he ordered the HR dept and NST chief clerk Anslem Rozario to find out when and how it all began.

They traced it to the departure of then news editor Frankie decruz and R Nadeswaran who had left after years of slogging for NST under stellar GEs to set up The Leader, Utusan Malaysia's english tabloid.

Many couldnt believe that Frankie and Nadeswaran had resigned - two outstanding journalists who were a shining example, why, motivating and inspiring their colleagues as well.

they never knew time, and it was all about getting the best story for the Malay Mail or NST the next day.

Then, their former boss MA Razman quit and the list got longer and longer.

Some of those who resigned under Kadir's "reign of terror" sought advice from me (me, being an elder in the industry) and I told them that they had better abandon the sinking ship quick!

When I asked Kadir, why so many good journalists had quit during his tenure at a function once, he said these were greedy people who were more interested in money than futhering themselves in their profession.

As I look at the names of the people who had taken VSS, many were once Kadir's "croonies". Kadir doesnt even have a thread to hang on in the NST now.

His attempts to undermine the current managment, using these third-rate "senior journalists" now lie in tatters.

What's next Kadir?



His holier-than-thou attitude now stinks.

rocky's bru said...

anakbalaiberita, this is actually the THIRD vss in nst's history.

i know because i was there. and i know all the journos who have quit and are quitting under this 3rd exercise. and why many of them "volunteered" this time around.

if it was the money, they would have taken the vss the last time around. or during kadir's era (if he was really the tyrant that Anonymous made him out to be).

but they stayed on because they believed they could help bring nst back to the top. they stayed because they believed in what the newspaper was doing as a newspaper.

they left this time around because they have stopped believing.

i'm not sure how tokdalang came up with the link between the vss and the subsidy mentality, but VOLUNTARY is a misnomer.

as for his speculation that no one else wanted these VSS-ed journalists, well .. johnson fernandez is now editorial consultant with eastern times and lazarus rokk has been appointed one of only 50-odd fifa media ambassadors for the world cup (and no, tokdalang, malaysia did not qualify for the world cup).

tokdalang said...

rocky bru,

am scratching my head and wondering why VOLUNTARY is a misnomer? care to enlighten? after all, those years in business times should be put to good use.

also thanks for enlightening us on the movements of some of the journalists that took money to leave the new straits times.

i wish them luck though i like to point out that those who managed to get employment immediately are the sports journalists. how about the rest? can't live on all that largesse for long.

also, lazarus rokk's appointment is indeed a shining example for all of us, a media ambassador no less and malaysia not qualifying for the world cup at that.

then again, they didn't employ him for his writing skills. sigh, won't that kill him and rob us of enjoying his pieces, you think?

hoping to see you write soon, though your blog seems bare, rocky bru.

zubin said...

so apa nak jadi dengan MM, NST, BH, HM sampai begitu ramai yang ambil VSS? Is NSTP Group shrinking the size or nak ambil orang yang baru dan muda belia? What's the next move?

About Me

My photo
I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).