Former Utusan Malaysia editor and media icon Said Zahari, 88, passed away this afternoon.
His son Norman, posted about his passing on Facebook.
" Innalillah , my father Said Zahari had passed away at 12.30 in the afternoon," Norman said.
Former Information Minister Zainudin Maidin, who worked with Said at Utusan Melayu (before its name was changed to Utusan Malaysia), said his former colleague was a brave and determined nationalist.
“We have known each other since Said hired me as a 'stringer' in 1958 for the Alor Setar office,” Zainudin fondly remembered.
According to Zainudin, among the accomplishments Said managed during his lifetime was his leadership of the 1961 strike movement against Umno taking over Utusan Melayu .
“He was also involved in the pro-Indonesia left-wing nationalist movement during the Confrontation,” Zainudin added.
He was subsequently banned from entering the country when he was in Singapore, where he was later arrested under Operation Coldstore in 1963.
Said was detained for 17 years under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in Singapore during Lee Kuan Yew's reign as prime minister.
Ten years after his release in 1979, Said, who is a Singapore citizen, successfully petitioned the Malaysian government, then led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, to return to Malaysia to be with his wife and children.
“He upheld the legacy of Utusan Melayu icons like Tan Sri Abdul Samad Ismail, Usman Awang and Samani Mohd Amin as journalists with integrity,” Zainudin said.
The plethora of books written by Said continues to be published by Utusan Publications and Distributors today.