The recent The New Sunday Times interview with the direct connotation of former MIC President Samy Vellu bitching against and blaming Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad drew attention of many, on the direction of where NST Group is going. Even former NST journos feel that the piece was more about “Pitting a BN elder against another”.
Earlier than that, fingers point towards a certain ‘inner circle’ within NST which supposed “Leaked information out” on an eventual meeting that did not happen. Much earlier than that too, Berita Harian posted a piece on then most wanted global terrorist Osama Bin Laden which is of-tangent to Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak ‘Moderate Muslim’ agenda.
NST used to the be premier English daily, where it becomes the most credible reference point. Be it political, administrative or even business news. It was the daily diet for the most affluent of Malaysian society every morning. In fact, the most respectable and sought after journos were NST alumnus.
Malaysians abroad flock to places like Malaysia Hall in Bryanston Square, to come and read NST even though it was a few days late. UMNO Club in London used to hold ‘Coffee Corners’ in the dining hall, on issues featured in the front page of the English daily and of course the editorial’s piece. New policies like ‘Look East’ or ‘Buy British Last’.
We personally remember how students and Malaysians working in London converged, to read on the latest of the ‘Constitutional crisis’ of late 1983. Of course, s teenagers we were personally more interested in getting Spurs’ latest Le Coq Sportif jersey from Lillywhite. We were still in school when NST brought the detailed report on the ‘Memali Incident’ up north, 500kms away.
Even in the trying times on the first two years of then Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s sacking, NST stood fast to bring the most credible information on the latest of the nation’s most watched and international observed criminal cases trial. It was also the most controversial ‘political circus’ in Malaysian history so far. Malaysia, was suddenly infected by the mob street demonstration ‘Reformasi’.
NST did a good job of ‘controlling the damage’. Most of the nation was focused towards economic recovery rather than pander to Anwar’s ‘politics of hatred’ and systematical demonisation of authorities strategy.
The stead fastness brought upon confidence on the business and commercial sector, on Tun Dr Mahathir’s policies and more importantly his ‘outside the box’ approach to stop the economy and capital market from bleeding. Inadvertently, in the whole scheme of things Tun Dr. Mahathir leadership managed to pull through and his policies and plans followed through.
The recovery was fast enough that even though it was then the most difficult political test the ruling government had ever seen since 45 years of Independence, Tun Dr Mahathir put everything back on track which include the nation’s stature in the international political arena.
NST should share some degrees of credit to the success.
So where is the NST Group is heading now? How is it fitting towards Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s agenda, now that majority of Malaysians are ready to stand by him?
NST should forget about re-inventing themselves into unfamiliar turfs and go back to the basics, where they were once good at. Recover the niche ‘pull factor’ and become a market leader for that. Get the best talents for the job. Maximise technology for the purpose.