KUALA LUMPUR, 24 Feb 2009: A former powerful newspaper editor will be appointed soon to key posts at Media Prima Bhd and The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP) in a move that is linked to next month’s leadership change in Umno.
Sources said Datuk Johan Jaafar, who was editor-in-chief of Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia from 1994 to 1998, would be appointed chairperson of Media Prima and a non-executive director of NSTP.
Despite not having any executive powers in these two new appointments, Johan is expected to wield considerable influence over the two Umno-linked media companies.
Media Prima owns TV3 and several other television channels and radio stations, and also controls NSTP and other newspapers under its flagship The New Straits Times.
Ironically, Johan was forced to resign from Utusan in July 1998, just a few months before Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sacked in September 1998 as Umno deputy president and deputy prime minister, as the former was deemed to be a supporter of Anwar, who had fallen from grace.
Sources said the appointment of Johan to Media Prima and NSTP was done with the consent of incoming Umno president and prime minister designate Datuk Seri Najib Razak, largely because Johan is equally fluent in English and Malay and has no major business interest.
At Media Prima, Johan is expected to take over from existing chairperson Datuk Abdul Mutalib Mohamed Razak, who was appointed non-executive chairperson in mid-March 2005.
Johan started his working career at the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in 1977, and left about 14 years later in 1992 to join Utusan.
This news report first appeared on 24 Feb 2009 in The Edge Financial Daily under the title Johan Jaafar headed for Media Prima, NSTP. Used with permission. For more business and financial news, go to The Edge Daily.