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SPH Chinese newspapers stalwart retires

Singapore, 25th January 2004 - Newspaper publishing veteran, Mr Chew Keng Juea, Senior Executive Vice President of the Singapore Press Holdings´ Chinese Newspapers and Newspaper Services divisions, is retiring at the end of this month, the media group announced today.

The SPH stalwart, 64, who has served the Group for 24 years, is a respected figure in the Chinese community and a champion of the Chinese language, arts and culture, as well as a devoted community worker.

SPH will name his successor later this week to head the Chinese Newspapers Division (CND), which publishes three Chinese dailies (Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News), two student weeklies, and also produces the daily Channel U news bulletins, and the Newspaper Services Division (NSD), which is responsible for the printing and circulation of the Group´s newspapers and foreign publications.

On his decision to retire, Chew said: "I extended my retirement two years ago. Last June, when I was asked by Senior Advisor, Mr Lim Kim San, if I wanted to continue working, I told Mr Lim it was time to step down and make way for a younger person as part of the renewal process.

"I have had a very fulfilling and rewarding career in SPH and am grateful to the company for giving me the opportunity to manage all aspects of the media industry, from finance, administration, newspaper production and distribution to editorial management. I also want to thank my dedicated staff and colleagues for their cooperation, strong support and warm friendship."

Senior Advisor Lim Kim San, who has worked closely with Mr Chew for 15 years, since he became the Group´s Executive Chairman, a post which he relinquished in December 2002, said Mr Chew has discharged his duties and responsibilities well.

“Under his stewardship, our Chinese newspapers have undergone a remarkable transformation, especially our flagship Lianhe Zaobao, which has grown into an influential and authoritative Chinese language newspaper, read today not only by Singaporeans, but in other parts of the world," said Mr Lim.

"Keng Juea stayed the course throughout the wrenching changes and trying times in the Chinese newspapers and was the catalyst in pushing for the integration of print, web and broadcast media in the Chinese newsrooms.

“SPH has also benefited greatly from his vast expertise in upgrading our printing facilities. His contributions have helped to develop SPH into a multi-media company."

"Not only has Keng Juea given his time to the newspapers, he has also been dedicated to the community and is actively involved in various charity, arts and cultural events. He will be missed by many at SPH. I wish him good health and happiness.”

On behalf of the Board of Directors and management, SPH Chairman Lim Chin Beng thanked Mr Chew for his dedicated long service and contributions to the Group.

"We wish to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to Keng Juea for his inspiring leadership and outstanding contributions," he said. "We also wish him a happy, fulfilling and well-earned retirement, and good health in the years ahead."

Mr Chew began his newspaper career as financial controller of the now-defunct Sin Chew Jit Poh in 1979, and held senior positions in Singapore News and Publications, formed after the merger of Sin Chew Jit Poh and Nanyang Siang Pau. After the Chinese and English newspaper companies merged in 1984 to form SPH, he rose swiftly to become the Group General Manager in the Singapore Newspaper Services Pte Ltd, which was changed to Newspaper Services Division in 1990. He took on additional responsibilities in July 1991 and has since headed both the CND and NSD.

Paying tribute to Mr Chew, SPH´s Chief Executive Officer Alan Chan said: "I am grateful to Keng Juea for giving me full support when I joined the company 18 months ago. With his backing and cooperation from his staff, he helped me implement various changes in the divisions under his charge, which made my transition in SPH that much easier. He is a champion of the Chinese language and culture and has been actively promoting them."

SPH senior editors also acknowledged Mr Chew’s contributions to SPH and the Chinese newspapers.

Mr Cheong Yip Seng, Editor-in-Chief of SPH’s English and Malay newspapers, who has known Mr Chew since 1984, said: "No merger of newspapers is easy to effect. Managing our different corporate cultures was a real challenge. More so when it involved newspapers in different languages; three in our case - Chinese, English and Malay.

"Keng Juea has a clear mind and a steady hand. That helped make the birth of SPH less traumatic. Under his watchful eye, the Chinese print media widened its readership. Our printing capacity grew substantially, with colour capacity multiplied.

"He has a wonderful family. He plays an active role in the Chinese community and the promotion of culture. I am sure his retirement calendar will continue to be full and productive. I have enjoyed his friendship, and wish him many years of good health and happiness."

Mr Lim Jim Koon, editor of Zaobao, describes Mr Chew as a "stern but fair superior, who is always open to alternative views.

"On editorial matters, he gives us a lot of freedom and respects our decisions. With colleagues, he is always affable and gets along well with everyone. He is a man of principles and does not let personal feelings get in the way of business," he said.

He added that Mr Chew fought for better benefits for CND staff and was instrumental in pushing for a five-day week for journalists in the Chinese newspapers.

An active community leader, Mr Chew presently serves in a number of civic, cultural and grassroots organisations, such as the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Singapore Chinese Orchestra. He also sits on the IFRA Interantional Board of Directors and chairs the IFRA Asia Committee. In recognition of his community work, he was awarded a PBM on National Day in 2002.

Mr Chew and his wife, Elisa, a cheongsum and Singapore dress designer and boutique owner, have a grown-up son and daughter.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings

For more information, please contact:

Irene Ngoo
Assistant Vice President
Corporate Relations
Tel: 65-6319 1216
Fax: 65-6319 8150

About SPH
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading news and information provider, offering quality content for print, Internet, TV and radio. It publishes 14 newspapers in the four official languages and six lifestyle periodicals. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications while the online editions of its six main dailies enjoy some 120 million pageviews a month. SPH has ventured into the broadcast medium and operates two popular free-to-air TV channels, Channel U in Chinese and Channel i in English. It also operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media.