Malaysiakini turns 10: A night to remember

Hazlan Zakaria & Aidila Razak

Modified 29 Nov 2009, 9:09 am

Subscribers, supporters, friends, advertisers and well wishers gathered at the Sime Darby Convention Centre in Bukit Kiara to join Malaysiakini in celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The event, dubbed MAD short for 'Malaysiakini Annual Dinner', marked the online news portal's decade long sojourn of bringing 'news and views that matter' to the Malaysian public.

Despite many of the guests having to brave the torrential downpour that enveloped much of the Klang Valley last evening, came they did, and the celebrations were all the merrier for it.

NONE The event, which was hosted by TV personalities Daphne Iking and Will Quah ( left ), saw the attendence of a cross section of Malaysian civil society.

The crowd included representatives from both sides of the political spectrum and all rungs of Malaysian society.

From the ruling BN coalition, Deputy Information Minister Senator Heng Seai Kie was there as well as an entire table of representatives from MCA.

Gerakan Youth deputy chief Oh Tong Keong was also present, while MIC's M Muthupalaniappan and BN's Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing both bought a table each for the event.

NONE Pakatan Rakyat was represented by Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, state excos Elizabeth Wong, Ronnie Liu and Xavier Jayakumar, PKR chief strategist Tian Chua, vice-president R Sivarasa, DAP PJ Utara MP Tony Pua and state assemblyperson Janice Lee, as well as PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad.

Joining the festivities were also guests who flew in from far off cities. Supporters and friends of Malaysiakini's founders Steven Gan and Premesh Chandran from their student activist days as well as those who were involved in turning Malaysiakini into one of the world's only two successful subscription-based online publication.

NONE These include, Sasa Vucinic from venture fund MDLF, who was of one those who believed enough to invest in the fledgling news portal in its early days, representatives from international media and former members of Network of Overseas Student Collectives in Australia (Nosca), of which Chandran and Gan were once active members.

Also present was the chief editor of Asia for the International Herald Tribune , Leonard M Apcar and other members of the media who flew in from Hong Kong, Bangkok and even London.

Tribute to fallen comrades

Kicking off the sold-out event was the Tugu Drum Circle, who got the audience clapping and tapping their feet to the beat. The 12-member troupe gave an energetic five-minute performance setting the stage for an exciting night ahead.

The hall, which was filled to the brim with over 1,000 guests, cheered as the Malaysiakini video montage was shown. The powerful video featured Malaysiakini 's journey, from being barred from attending government press conferences to being lauded by top leaders locally and abroad.

NONE Premesh and Gan then took to the stage to thank the many who have contributed to the news portal's 10-year journey, including contributors and journalists who have passed on - columnist MGG Pillai and Kuching correspondent Tony Thien.

"I hope that all of you here will join us in our 15th anniversary, so that I will not have to start my anniversary speech with another eulogy. It’s a good incentive to not kick the bucket, just yet," Gan said.

Also remembered was the late Yasmin Ahmad, who achieved through her films what Malaysiakini has for the Malaysian media landscape. A five-minute video tribute, composed by filmmaker and publisher Amir Muhammad, was showcased.

NONE The night exploded when the self-proclaimed 'Queen of Ham Sap', Joanne Kam Poh Poh took the stage, with an entourage of sequin-decked 'sexy divas'.

The stand up comedian managed to get the whole room blushing with her saucy brand of comedy, which broke all taboos.

Soulful young singer Elvira also took to the stage, followed by award-winning musician Reshmonu, newcomer Amanda Imani and hip hop artiste Kraft.

The night ended with a moving and powerful interpretative dance called 'Diaries 09' which depicted the human rights struggles which have taken place in Malaysia and abroad in the year 2009.

NONE As a way of giving thanks to all who have subscribed to the news portal, everyone walked away with a 'press freedom' plant to take home to nurture as well as a free night’s stay at Tune Hotels in Bali, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Penang.

Some luckier individuals walked away with hampers from the lucky draw, with the grand lucky draw winner winning a trip to Bali.

As the crowd dispersed, many expressed pride in being part of the Malaysiakini journey and looked forward to many more years of 'news and views that matter'.

And here comes the difficult part

'We couldn't have done it without you'

'Here's to 10 more years of independent media'

Malaysiakini turns 10: A night to remember

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