NOBODY wants to hear of a price increase. Certainly, a newspaper is never eager to raise its cover price, no matter how small the amount. Which is why it has been almost 15 years since the cover price for The Star from Monday to Friday had gone up. And the last time we increased our weekend editions’ cover price was in May 2007.
We have done all we can to maintain those prices, absorbing numerous cost hikes over the years instead of passing them on to our readers. Compared with a decade ago, we are paying significantly more for major expenses such as salaries, newsprint, electricity, water, transportation and commissions.
We have resisted raising prices longer than many other newspapers here and overseas, but we cannot continue to do so without affecting our ability to produce the kind of stories that make us the people’s paper.
Starting Monday, The Star will have a cover price of RM1.30 from Monday to Friday, up by 10 sen. The Star on Saturday and Sunday Star will remain at RM1.50.
Despite the change, our new cover price is no higher than those of Malaysia’s other main paid newspapers. At the same time, we know that the additional 10 sen means something to our readers. To us, it is extra impetus to introduce new elements in our content and to offer giveaways and vouchers to reward loyal readers of The Star.
Those who renew their annual subscriptions by Nov 30 will still enjoy the rates before the price review.
Any price increase, even one that amounts to only an additional RM26 a year for a daily copy of our newspaper, may prod customers into looking elsewhere. But we are convinced that our readers appreciate the deep and enduring value of The Star and its content.
They recognise that in this age of fake news, which unfortunately is easily and instantly shared, we have not wavered from our core responsibility – reporting the facts.
There is plenty of so-called news on social media. Although it is free, the lack of credibility can be damaging to individuals and society.
We take seriously the needs and interests of our newspaper’s 1.5 million readers and The Star Online’s eight million unique visitors.
That means we do not present hearsay or rumours as the truth. While we work hard to get the stories out quickly, we work especially hard at ensuring accuracy and fairness.
Some people may argue that they can do without the newspaper because they can read pretty much the same content online without paying anything.
But this ignores the fact that The Star Online is the digital companion to the newspaper and they are intertwined.
In reality, nothing is free. Indeed, it is increasingly expensive to produce content, whether published in print or online. It is important to understand that part of the newspaper revenue goes towards supporting our online operations.
However, we are not merely a messenger. Much of The Star’s value resides in what we stand for.
First and foremost, we believe in bringing Malaysians together, and that hinges upon each of us doing his part to shape a fair, just and moderate Malaysia.
The Star fulfils its role by being rational, caring and steadfast when covering the news and issues. With our pool of experienced and talented writers, we offer insightful analysis and commentaries to shed light on the events of the day.
In a highly regulated media environment, and in the face of the increasing demands of urban Malaysians, we are committed to speaking up as a voice of reason. We have been stout in defending the rights of all Malaysians as provided for in the Federal Constitution and in pushing back against divisiveness and extremism.
A recent example is our coverage of the Muar launderette that had a Muslims-only policy, prompting the Sultan of Johor to order the owner to stop the practice.
We stand out as the sole media group in Malaysia that consistently advocates the path of moderation. It has caused uneasiness among some groups and individuals but we have never backed down because we draw strength and inspiration from the many Malaysians who share the belief that unity is the bedrock of national prosperity.
Throughout its 46 years, The Star’s brand of journalism extends beyond politics and government. It is also about people and their lives. We take pride in highlighting human achievements and the goodness within people. We always aim to make a difference.
Through the successful Predator In My Phone campaign, our award-wining R.AGE team contributed to the passing of the Sexual Offences against Children Act 2017.
The Star Golden Hearts Award celebrates Malaysians who selflessly build bridges between different communities. This is our way of strengthening how we help each other, regardless of race and religion.
For many years, The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education programme has been bringing current affairs into the classroom and helping develop our children’s English language literacy. Through the Star Education Fund, we collaborate with leading educational institutions to give deserving students a chance to pursue higher education.
We have launched and promoted an array of campaigns to raise awareness, celebrate triumphs, unite people and spark changes for the better. These include the Women do Wonders campaign in conjunction with International Women’s Day, the annual #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk, and the Raise The Flag initiative, which seeks to strengthen national pride among Malaysians.
There is a lot more that The Star intends to do, and we rely on your support to show that Malaysians are willing to work together to make the country a better home. Walk alongside us on this great journey of hope and harmony.
Group managing director and CEO
Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai