To those who know him, the mere mention of the name Said Zahari would remind them of a humble, bubbly and friendly person. At the age of 80, Said Zahari, fondly known as Pak Said, is still the force to be reckoned with. Despite his old age, Pak Said who was born and bred in
Although he was not able to pursue higher education because of the outbreak of World War II, Pak Said became fluent in Malay, English, and later on, Chinese, became a journalist renowned for defending press freedom, and led the then largest and most influential newspaper in Malaya and Singapore. Although born into a Malay family and subsequently editor of a Malay press, he built bridges to other ethnic groups, all of whom respected and accepted him.
“Utusan Melayu was the only newspaper that strongly support the struggle for
Utusan Melayu, he said, strongly support UMNO in the fight of independence, even though the party ‘bukan apa sangat’ (nothing to shout about).
“UMNO’s motto at that time was ‘Hidup Melayu’. I told UMNO that we will support UMNO as long as the party fought for independence to rid Malaya of British.”
“UMNO was nothing. They only shouted ‘Hidup Melayu’ but we instigated them that Melayu would always live. Nothing could touch Melayu. The most vital issue to fight for was for Merdeka not ‘Hidup Melayu’.”
Both journalists and editors at that time gave their full support in the fight for independence.
“In those years, journalists were also active in politics although they were non-partisan. But, they were very political conscious and had a strong political principal,” he said recalling his colleagues passion in upholding the independence’s struggle through journalism.
It was not about money at all for them. They were not only journalists, but political activists, too. Journalism and politics were inseparable at that time.
In 1952, after much instigation, UMNO changed its’ motto ‘Merdeka’. Pak Said recalled, after the independence, Utusan Melayu was willing to continue supporting UMNO as long as it stuck to the struggle of Merdeka.
“It means, to rid
“Not everybody in UMNO but the hunger for more power among some of them had led them to believe that they should take over Utusan Melayu.”
.... to be continued.
Artikel ini sudah disiarkan di majalah Forward keluaran bulan Mac lalu.