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Faction fight in Malaysia Nanban

Contributed by Anonymous on Friday, September 02 @ 09:30:28 CDT

The Star Friday September 2, 2005
KUALA LUMPUR: A fight to control the management and editorial policy of popular Tamil language newspaper Malaysia Nanban resulted in publisher and key editorial staff being thrown out to the streets.

The general manager, chief news editor, reporters and photographers were also “ordered out” of the Nanban office at Batu Complex in Jalan Murai Dua on Wednesday.

Sources said problems involving editorial policy and operations began days after the demise of its editorial advisor Athi Kumanan on March 28.

His death sparked an internal tussle between two management groups which spread to the newsroom, said a source.

SKELETON CREW: Editorial staff members – reduced to a handful – racing against time to get the paper out on time in Kuala Lumpur.
“There were near fist fights during meetings and several days ago, a group of employees refused to work so as to prevent the newspaper from being printed,” said a staff member.

There have been claims that the problem was politically motivated, as one faction had sought the help of politicians to gain control of the news desk and management.

Malaysia Nanban licence holder Sikandar Batcha Abdul Majeed, 59, said a skeleton staff, including editors, general manager S.M. Periasamy and the chief news editor managed to print the paper.

“Despite being kicked out of the Nanban office, we produced an eight-page newspaper today (yesterday) and we will be going back to 16 pages tomorrow (today),” said Sikandar Batcha, who owns the publication licence under Penerbitan Sahabat Sdn Bhd. They were operating from another premises.

Sources from the other group claimed that those operating outside the Nanban office moved out on their own and were not ordered out.

The paper, which started 21 years ago, gained popularity due its critical views on issues concerning the Indian community and MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

Sources claimed this was the most opportune time for those against MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam to destroy the paper as it had been providing favourable coverage to Subramaniam.

There is talk a new Tamil language daily named Nanban Express would hit the streets.



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