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SPH appoints senior Straits Times journalist as Editor of Tamil Murasu

SINGAPORE, 29 August 2005 - Ms Murugaian Nirmala, senior political correspondent at The Straits Times, has been named the new Editor of Tamil Murasu, Singapore’s Tamil daily, from 18 September 2005, Singapore Press Holdings announced today.

Ms Nirmala, 52, takes over from Dr Chitra Rajaram, 41, who is leaving after seven years as editor of Tamil Murasu, which is published by SPH.

Ms Nirmala joined The Straits Times in 1989 and has broad experience in the newsroom, with stints in various sections - the Newsdesk, Foreign Desk, The Sunday Times, the Senior Writers’ Group, as well as the Political Desk, her last posting. Prior to joining SPH, she was a senior research officer with the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Commenting on her appointment, Patrick Daniel, managing editor of SPH’s English and Malay newspapers division and member of the board of Tamil Murasu Pte Ltd, said: "The board has full confidence that Nirmala will continue the excellent work done by Dr Rajaram. When SPH took over Tamil Murasu in 1995, it was a struggling vernacular paper with a dwindling circulation. Today, Tamil Murasu is a profitable operation, with daily sales of 9,500 on weekdays and 15,000 on weekends.’’

Said Ms Nirmala, of her new role: "The challenge for me is to build on Tamil Murasu’s strengths and make it even better, giving the Indian community in Singapore news and views that matter to them. The paper has the potential to do more in striking a balance between catering to the needs of older Indians and opening up opportunities for the younger generation of Indians."

Ms Nirmala is also an active social worker. She helps manage a non-profit organisation, Child at Street 11 in Ang Mo Kio, that looks after the emotional and educational needs of 55 children from dysfunctional and broken homes.

Dr Rajaram, who began her career in journalism as a reporter in The New Paper and The Business Times from 1988 to 1991, was appointed Editor of Tamil Murasu in 1998 after she rejoined SPH following a stint as a lecturer in Ngee Ann Polytechnic from1991 to 1996, and general manager in an international public relations firm 1996 to 1998.

She said: "I’ve had seven good years at TM, which is doing very well now, with healthy circulation and ad revenue. It has been a huge learning curve for me and I feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment. I did not plan to leave, but when the opportunity came - as it did seven years ago - to take on a new set of challenges in the business world at an international level, I decided to go for it."

SPH wishes Dr Rajaram well in her new career.

Tamil Murasu was founded in 1935 by the late G Sarangapany. In 1995, SPH acquired Tamil Murasu with Times Publishing owning a minority stake, and in March 2004, the daily became wholly-owned by SPH. To broaden its reach, Tamil Murasu underwent two major revamps in 1999 and, most recently, in April 2005, to beef up its coverage of local and foreign news, as well as sports and entertainment. It now gives readers a daily dose of "something for everyone".

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About Singapore Press Holdings
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading media company in Singapore, in the print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. It publishes 13 newspapers in the four official languages and more than 70 magazine titles. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications. Its Internet Business Unit manages the online editions of SPH’s major newspapers and magazines, which together enjoy over 250 million pageviews a month. SPH also owns a 20% stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40% stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes free newspaper Today. 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.