(From left) Macaraig, Philippine Daily Inquirer's director for mobile, JV Rufino, Jakarta Post's executive director Riyadi Suparno, Wong, Nazir, Janviroj, Herman Prayitno and Kraichitti at the launch.
It was a simple ceremony but a historic one to mark the CIMB-Asean ePaper collaboration involving four major English newspapers in the region.
The Star group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai described the move as “unprecedented” while Thailand’s The Nation international affairs president Pana Janviroj said the tie-up was the first in the region.
Under the arrangement, consumers will get daily e-copies of The Star, The Jakarta Post (Indonesia), The Nation (Thailand) and The Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippines) in The Star bundle subscription.
The launch, held at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya last Friday, was attended by CIMB Group chief executive Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, who said he supported such Asean ventures.
Nazir, in his speech, reaffirmed the importance of a local perspective, saying Asean was a very diverse region.
“This is a fantastic initiative. When I was told about it, I jumped at wanting to be a part of it.
“The media plays a very important role for Asean in terms of economic integration and also the evolution of an Asean identity,” he said.
“I dream of the day when I’m asked where I’m from, I say I’m from Malaysia, I’m from Asean. That sense of common identity can only be achieved with the active support of media communications,’’ he stressed.
Lending support to the regional tie-up were Indonesian Ambassador Herman Prayitno, Thai Ambassador Krit Kraichitti, and Philippine Embassy deputy chief and consul Medardo Macaraig.
Also present were Karangkraf Media COO Syamil Fahim and top editors from Sin Chew Daily, including editor in chief Pook Ah Lek and executive editor in chief Kuik Cheng Kang.
Businessman Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi and Bloomberg Malaysia CEO Michael Chan also attended the event.
Other senior CIMB officials included its group chief marketing and communications officer Effendy Shahul Hamid and managing director and head of brand (marketing and communications) Josandi Thor.
Wong said The Star had registered over 70,000 e-paper subscribers since its inception two years ago.
“We hope to hit the 100,000 target by year end which will be a landmark in Malaysian journalism,” he said.
He said the e-paper platform had become popular because it took less than 10 minutes to download the papers.
“If you are travelling on a plane or in the train, you can read these publications at your leisure. In fact, it has a mechanism that can even read to you when you are driving.
“Many of our readers are professionals who travel extensively in the region including day-trippers.
“If you are heading towards Jakarta, you want to know what is happening in Indonesia, for example, and certainly Bangkok is on the radar of many Malaysian travellers, especially its political developments,” he added.
Jakarta Post executive director Riyadi Suparno said the effort showed the media’s ability to respond to new platforms to deliver its content while Philippine Daily Inquirer mobile director JV Rufino said the e-paper platform would be useful to readers who wanted a seamless experience when consuming news.
The CIMB-Asean ePaper offer will be available from tomorrow (April 1).
Those who use their CIMB credit card to subscribe to The Star bundle will have a 20% discount off the RM360 bundle.
The epaper can be downloaded on your smartphone, tablet and desktop.