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OCDN Editor calls it quits after 51 years
Published on: Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah's and probably the nation's longest-serving Chief Editor of any vernacular newspaper, Hii Yuk Seng, called it a day, Tuesday, after serving the Overseas Chinese Daily News (OCDN), a sister paper of the Daily Express, loyally and uninterrupted for 51 years.

Managing Director Datuk Clement Yeh announced Hii's retirement and the appointment of Stephen Lai, 62, as the new Chief Editor of OCDN at a farewell gathering for him at the premises of Sabah Publishing House Sdn Bhd (SPH is publisher of the two publications).

Yeh also appointed Hii, who turns 77 this year, as Executive Adviser of OCDN in recognition of his extraordinarily long service and expertise.

"We thank him for his contributions to making the paper what it is today, amid the challenges faced by the print media industry," he said.

In his speech, Hii, a grandfather of six, expressed his gratitude to the Founders of OCDN, the late Tan Sri Yeh Pao Tzu and Puan Sri Yeh Lim York Sham, for offering him the job of Chief Editor in 1966.

"The couple treated me like a family member. This is the reason why I stayed put for 51 years.

I hope you will render my successor the same support and cooperation as you have given me all these years.

Work hard to maintain the good reputation of OCDN," he told the paper's editorial team.

Born in Sibu, he was raised in Sarikei where he came to know the Yeh family and the two families became close friends.

"My father and Tan Sri Yeh's father were good friends. My dad was a teacher while Tan Sri Yeh's father was a member of the Board of Directors (BOD) of the school. He (Hii's father) was inspired by Tan Sri Yeh's success in (running) a Chinese newspaper in North Borneo (now Sabah)," Hii recalled.

According to him, Tan Sri Yeh's father recommended students from the Chinese Senior Middle School in Sarawak for further studies in Taiwan.

"It was because of his recommendation that I went to Taiwan to study journalism for four years under a partial scholarship provided by the National Chengchi University, Taipei. Actually, I loved Chinese subjects such as Literature while in school."

Armed with a degree in journalism, Hii returned to Sarawak but had difficulty in seeking employment.

By the end of 1964, he tried his luck in Sabah and ended up as a teacher of the Cheng Hwa Primary School in Papar (now SJK © Cheng Hwa) for one semester.

In 1965, he moved to Kota Kinabalu and worked for the now-defunct Api Siang Pao (started by the late Datuk Lo Kwok Chuen) as Editor for less than a year.

"It was only a sheet of paper containing foreign news and local news contributed by local clubs and societies."

The following year (1966), Tan Sri Yeh made him the Chief Editor of OCDN until his retirement on Tuesday.

Successor Lai, who hails from Tawau, had served as Chief Editor of the Tawau Morning Post for 28 years and four years as Chief Editor cum General Manager of Tawau Express.

"In life, it is not easy for any individual to be in the same profession for more than half a century.

So passionate and full of spirit about journalism," he said of his predecessor.

Also present were Company Directors Madam Yeh and M.T. Yeh, General Manager of SPH, Anthony Yeh, Deputy General Manager Lawrence Yeh, Production Manager Edward Tsen and Chief Editor of Daily Express, James Sarda. - Mary Chin

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