New media alliance formed

Hamzah Nazari

KUALA LUMPUR: AN ALLIANCE comprising The Malay Mail and three vernacular newspapers, along with a business publication and a think tank is set to change the media landscape in the country.

Assembled with the immediate intention of providing comprehensive coverage this election season, The Malay Mail, Bahasa Malaysia newspaper Sinar Harian, Chinese newspaper Oriental Daily News and Tamil newspaper Makkal Osai are geared up to pool their resources to provide as much information and insight to readers.

Meanwhile, The Malaysian Reserve would report from the business perspective of elections while the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), which was appointed by the Election Commission as an independent observer, would advise the alliance.

The Media Alliance was launched at Redberry City yesterday -- the headquarters of the Redberry Group of Companies which owns The Malay Mail and The Malaysian Reserve.

The alliance was launched concurrently with the Media Alliance GE13 Election Watch campaign which pledged to secure comprehensive coverage of the elections as well as enabling to get fast and accurate information on nominations and polling days. It is accessible at which will go live today.

In essence, the Media Alliance, according to The Malay Mail managing editor Terence Fernandez, is meant to bridge the various communities through the sharing of news.

"This alliance is a conduit to let the Chinese reading community know what the Indian community is concerned with, or what the pulse of the Malay community is saying," he said.

Makkal Osai news editor P. Mohanan said they would share with the other papers their best from the Indian segment of the news and would try to get the best from the other language papers.

Sinar Harian deputy news editor Farush Khan Akbar Khan said they were glad to be included with the other papers and would soon discuss how to best contribute to the alliance.

Redberry Group media adviser Datuk Syed Nadzri Syed Harun, who represented The Malay Mail at the launch, said the alliance would give a complete platform that had never been explored before and would serve as a start for future endeavours in the industry.

Oriental Daily executive editor-in-chief Ding Lee Leong said the forming of the alliance was timely as the coming elections would be the most interesting and exciting in history and the masses needed more realtime accurate information.

The Malaysian Reserve CEO Syed Mohamed Fazilla Syed Hussain said the alliance gave them the opportunity to give a slightly different slant to the election frenzy and provide for their niche market of readers.

At a press conference later, Syed Nadzri said the content shared would be centred around the general election but that the news organisations were already sharing in a loose, informal collaboration.

Ding said they had been working together for some time now.

Meanwhile, Audit Bureau of Circulations audit committee chairman Margaret Au-Yong called the alliance a brilliant 1Malaysia concept in line with her organisation's objective of avoiding a monopoly in Malaysia.

First in history

IDEAS president Tunku Zain Al'Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz said the think tank is happy to be a part of an alliance formed to cover elections in the four main languages.

He said it it could be the first time in Malaysian history that such an endeavour was attempted.

"Ideas' role really is to provide advice as to what sort of information should be on, for example websites that they have, and also how they could be presented."

He said that as Ideas was an accredited observer for the election, they had signed an agreement with the Election Commission not to disclose certain details until after elections.

"While this is a media alliance, it is not as if we are going to feed in all this secret information. It's more about the structure and process," he said.

He said after the elections, he hoped the alliance would continue and said that if it did, Ideas would continue to support it by helping to monitor members of parliament and strengthen democracy by providing information to the rakyat which they might not otherwise have.