Veteran journalist Wong Sai Wan dies of heart attack

KUALA LUMPUR: Malay Mail editor-in-chief Datuk Wong Sai Wan died of a heart attack this morning at the Subang Jaya Medical Centre. He was 59.

His son, Wong Chee Mun, told the Malay Mail that his father had suffered heart failure and was rushed to the hospital at 5.30am.

"He was admitted to the emergency ward at 6am. Doctors tried CPR on him but they couldn't revive him," he was quoted as saying.

Apart from Chee Mun, Sai Wan leaves behind his wife Loo Poh Ling and daughter Wong Yik Pen, 25.

Sai Wan began his journalism career at The Star in the early 1980s, and among others served as its Hong Kong correspondent and executive editor, before moving to the Malay Mail as editor-in-chief in 2014.

A wake for Wong will be held from 11am to 6pm on May 15 and 16 at the Xiao En Centre at No 1 Jalan Kuari in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, tributes poured in for Sai Wan on social media including from his former colleagues and politicians.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak shared on his Facebook that the world of journalism had lost a role model and veteran who was well respected.

"Wong was professional and experienced and had a cheerful personality. His writing always caught my attention. May his family be strong to face this struggle."

Transport Minister and MCA president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said Sai Wan would be dearly missed by many.

"Sad and shocked to hear of Datuk Wong Sai Wan's passing. He was Malay Mail's editor-in-chief and former Seremban bureau chief and executive editor of The Star.

"A long-time news media veteran and a true mentor to many of our current generation of journalists. He will be dearly missed by many. I want to wish his family strength and condolences during this difficult time. Rest in peace Sai Wan," he said in a Facebook post.

Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari tweeted: "Condolences to the family and friends of Datuk Wong Sai Wan, editor-in-chief of Malay Mail on his passing early this morning. We lost another giant name in the media industry during a crucial period in our fight against Covid-19."

Karangkraf chairman Datuk Hussamuddin Yaacub said he lost a good friend and a "teh tarik" buddy.

"Rest in peace, bro. Today I lost another good friend and teh tarik buddy. And the Malay Mail lost its editor-in-chief.

"EIC is a tough and stressful job. Last year, Sinar Harian lost two EICs: Datuk Jalil Ali and Datuk Baharum Mahusin. Occupational hazard!" he tweeted.

New Straits Times Press chief executive officer Mustapha Kamil Mohd Janor said: "A dear friend, Datuk Wong Sai Wan, passed on this morning of cardiac arrest.

"Sai Wan, a long-time newsman with The Star, and then the Malay Mail, was a fellow Negri Sembilan folk. We attended the King George V School in Seremban together for a while before I was transferred to another school in Kuala Pilah. So long Sai Wan. Rest in peace," he said in a Facebook post.

Former colleague, Shahanaaz Habib, said she can't believe the Raya message she received yesterday would be the last time she heard from Wong.

"You are one of the kindest and nicest person I know in journalism despite your tough guy and deceptive exterior.

"When I joined journalism as a newbie you were the one who taught me the ropes, guided and challenged me.

"I looked up to you as a mentor, boss and friend. Can't believe that the Raya message you sent me yesterday is the last I'll hear from you in this life.

"I never said this to you before, thank you for everything you've done and for being instrumental in my journalism career. Rest well my dear, dear friend, you'll be sorely missed," she said in a Facebook post.

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