Hardev Kaur: From business journalist to editor in male-dominated field

Hardev Kaur featured in NST (15 July 2019)
By New Straits Times | MALAYSIA |

A business journalist who rose through the ranks, Datuk Hardev Kaur was appointed group editor on May 1, 2004.

Before her stint with the NST, Hardev worked at RTM with a RM2 per day salary after completing her degree at Universiti Malaya.

Being in a male-dominated field, Hardev said she was often “assigned” to hold the other journalists’ passports and give them a wake-up call in the morning when travelling abroad on assignments.

“I continued writing on economics and still went out on assignments and had my own column.”

Hardev, 69, said business writers then used to wait until 2am in the office for the London Stock Exchange to close.

She and her colleagues spent so much time in the office that they were often asked to pay rent.

Her story, “Buy British Last” on Oct 1, 1981, got her into trouble for “disrupting bilateral ties” and she was then “advised” to leave the country for a year. She took that opportunity to further her studies in the United States.

During her tenure, NST reduced the size of the paper from broadsheet to compact.

“On the first day, we distributed the newspapers ourselves at 5am near the Market Square in Petaling Jaya. There were mixed reactions. Some accepted it, some didn’t.”

Hardev stressed the ethics of journalism and spoke about the time they refused to reveal to a minister who their source of a controversial story was, despite him threatening to sue.

“Managing people was the biggest challenge. Dealing with people was already a tough job. It was even worse when dealing with journalists who are naturally people with big egos,” she said commenting on the challenges she faced then.

On government interference, she said, “If there were any calls, it did not come to me.”

Hardev Kaur is one of the editors interviewed as New Straits Times turns 174 years old today. To read the full story, ‘Balai Berita: More than a newsroom with Hardev Kaur’ (New Straits Times, 15 July 2019), go here