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Express wins national-level recognition again
Published on: Sunday, May 22, 2016

Kuala Lumpur: Daily Express, which last year won the Jury Award, followed up the success this year by becoming runner-up in the Excellent International Journalism Category of the MPI-Petronas Malaysian Journalism Awards 2015.Its Chief Editor James Sarda won the only Merit Award for the second best entry in this Category.

He received a cash prize of RM1,000 and a certificate. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was the guest of honour at the Malaysian Press Night 2016 at the Majestic Hotel, here, Friday.

This is the second time James has been runner-up in the Excellent International Journalism Category, the first being in 2013. The main winner in the category was Berita Harian.

The competition drew 438 entries (for 18 categories) in various languages from the print and electronic media.

James' entry entitled "Nations in Transition" was an eight-part series which examined how Fiji and Cameroon (both Commonwealth states) were embracing change with the former in the South Pacific having undergone several coups, finally making descendants of Indian migrants politically inclusive, while Cameroon in Central Africa after 30 years of having a dictator for President is now experimenting with multi-party democracy.

For James, it is a back-to-back achievement. This time last year, he was adjudged co-winner of the Special Jury Award together with National news agency Chairman Datuk Azman Ujang.

The Jury Award was in recognition of work that MPI judges considered was of consistent high quality and meeting the standards of journalism demanded by the profession.

This was the fourth major national journalism award for James, who is a Chevening scholar and has a Masters in Journalism from Cardiff University. In 1996, he won the top national press award for Environmental Reporting, followed by the MPI top award for Reporting in 1999 for a series on the Syabu menace in Sabah. At state-level, he has also consistently won Golds for the Daily Express.

James also won an Alfred Friendly Fellowship in 1993 during which he served as a staff writer for the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina, USA.

In 2007, he was selected for the Duke of Edinburgh's Study Group to examine the state of medical tourism in Kerala, India, along with professionals from other Commonwealth countries. His Commonwealth journalism experience includes reporting on parliamentary conferences in South Africa and Cameroon.

The highlight of his journalism career was the world scoop which exposed the whereabouts of fugitive derivatives trader Nick Leeson, who caused the collapse of Barings Bank in the UK but was hiding at the Shangri-La Resort, here, in 1995.

­Interpol depended on this report to arrest Leeson in Frankfurt when he fled Kota Kinabalu via a Royal Brunei flight en-route to Europe.

James is also noted for editing "White Headhunter in Borneo" on the memoirs of the late Stephen Holley, Sabah's first State Secretary after independence and the Undersecretary to the Governor before that.

Holley was also the Secretary of the Inter-Governmental Committee on the Formation of Malaysia (IGC) and one of the signatories of the Malaysia Agreement.

It is the only book available which detailed the transformation of North Borneo to Sabah from the end of the war to Independence as a partner in the formation of Malaysia, otherwise known as the "reconstruction period".

He also co-authored "Spirit of Borneo" with Universiti Malaya History Professor Dr Danny Wong about Sabah being the subject of the world's first wildlife documentary in 1920, due to the efforts of pioneer silent era documentary makers Martin and Osa Johnson.

He also edited the memoirs by late SS Gill, a pioneer journalist.

He is now working on making the Land Below The Wind, the international bestseller by Agnes Keith which gave Sabah its famous nickname, as Sabah's contribution to Malaysian literature and enhancing English proficiency of fourth and fifth formers with strong encouragement by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Deputy Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching.



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