Veteran newsman Wong Sai Wan dies at age 59

PETALING JAYA: Veteran newsman Datuk Wong Sai Wan has passed away. He was 59.

His son Wong Chee Mun told the Malay Mail he was admitted to the Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC) for heart-related issues on Friday (May 14) at 5.30am.

"He came into the hospital at 5.30am and was admitted to the emergency room at 6am. His heart stopped beating.

"They tried CPR on him but couldn't revive him," he said.

Star Media Group adviser Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, a former colleague of Sai Wan, said he was devastated to learn of his passing as they had recently spoken together.

"He was telling me that he wanted to retire on reaching 60 as the job was too stressful," added Chun Wai.

Chun Wai also described Sai Wan, who was Malay Mail editor-in-chief, as a real "24/7 old school journalist”.

"He had excellent contacts and I am proud to have been his colleague for many decades.

"Sai Wan was helpful and ever ready to help his fellow journalists,” he said.

Chun Wai added that he and Sai Wan covered the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997 when the latter was The Star's Hong Kong correspondent.

Karangkraf chairman Datuk Hussamuddin Yaacub also expressed his condolences to Sai Wan’s family, describing him as a good friend and a "teh tarik" buddy.

"Rest in peace, bro. Today I lost another good friend and teh tarik buddy. And the Malay Mail lost its editor-in-chief.

"(Being) EIC is a tough and stressful job. Last year, Sinar Harian lost two EICs: Datuk Jalil Ali and Datuk Baharum Mahusin. Occupational hazard!" he tweeted.

Former Bernama chairman Datuk Seri Azman Ujang said Malaysian journalism has lost yet another fighter with Sai Wan's passing, as he also described him as a product of old school journalism.

"He was a product of the old school of hard knocks and pre-social media days. And a hardcore print media survivor until the Malay Mail saw its final print edition under his stewardship on Nov 30, 2018.

"I could feel when it was the saddest day in his life when after 122 years, the grand old man of journalism had to bow out and make way for online only."

Azman also said it was only on Thursday (May 13) when he received a Hari Raya Aidilfitri greeting from Sai Wan and he was shocked over his passing.

"Sai Wan himself epitomised quality journalism, a reputation he zealously guarded through all his work till the end.

"His passing was indeed a shocking news because it was only yesterday (May 13) he posted to me his online Hari Raya card. May his soul rest in peace."

Sai Wan, who was born in Seremban, started his career as a journalist with The Star in 1984, before becoming the Seremban bureau chief, senior news editor and executive editor.

In July 2013, he joined Ancom subsidiary Redberry Sdn Bhd as director of special projects, before being promoted to CEO in 2015, heading the group's media division.

In January 2018, he was re-designated as group chief media officer.

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