The Borneo Post, the largest and most widely read English language daily in Borneo, celebrates a milestone anniversary this year.
The very first issue of the paper hit newsstands 45 years ago today, on April 24, 1978, and was priced at 30 cents per copy.
The Borneo Post is the brainchild of the late Datuk Lau Hui Siong, dubbed East Malaysia’s newspaper magnate.
Its name was given by the late Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew – the former Sibu MP and federal deputy transport minister.
It would become part of a group of newspapers along with See Hua Daily News and Sin Hua Evening News, as well as weekly tabloids the See Hua Weekly and Your Weekender.
Although The Borneo Post is today headquartered in Crown Towers, Kuching, the paper first began in Sibu.
The expansion to Kuching on Oct 28, 1979 and in 1986 to Miri and Sabah, made The Borneo Post, the most widely distributed English newspaper in Borneo.
Today the newspaper is printed daily in Kuching, Sibu, and Miri in Sarawak, and in Sabah, the presses are in Kota Kinabalu and Lahad Datu.
In 1986, The Borneo Post incorporated a Bahasa Malaysia section which this was later expanded into a full-fledged newspaper – Utusan Borneo.
The Bahasa Malaysia daily is now also distributed throughout Sarawak and Sabah.
The late Hui Siong planned incessantly for the future.
During an era of hot metal presses, he foresaw new technologies that would ultimately determine the company’s success.
“If you remain stagnant, you will be wiped out. I may be getting old, but my heart is forever young,” he had said.
Indeed, The Borneo Post is the first English newspaper in East Malaysia to use photo-composition for type-setting, and printing was done in offset as against the old-fashioned letterpress.
During the advent of the computer age in the 1990s, the See Hua Group’s newspapers again became a trailblazer in the industry.
The full computerisation of the See Hua Group newspapers was a tremendous breakthrough in the East Malaysian newspaper industry.
It enabled readers to get more and wider news coverage from throughout Sarawak and Sabah.
Standardised national editions of See Hua Daily News and The Borneo Post began on May 1, 1993 – giving readers in all markets access to the same news pages.
As The Borneo Post continued to evolve in keeping with the times, it reached a significant milestone on January 1, 2007, with the launching of its weekend edition called, The Sunday Post.
Also on that day, The Borneo Post’s website, theborneopost.com, went live.
With its special feature stories, The Sunday Post was well-received especially among the younger crowd, who were looking for more variety in newspapers.
The website too was met with rave reviews as it made news on Sarawak accessible to a global audience. This would lead to the further diversification of The Borneo Post’s reach through the digital media.
The Borneo Post can now be accessed via Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, Newswav, Instagram, Linktree, and the newspaper’s own app.
The Borneo Post is also available in the E-paper format.
In June 2018, Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2018 ranked The Borneo Post third in terms of brand trust of users of the brand behind first-placed Astro Awani and international news website Yahoo! News.
The report was based on a YouGov survey of over 74,000 online news consumers in 37 countries.
The Borneo Post currently has a daily print subscription of about 80,000 in Sarawak and Sabah, and it has about 300,000 followers across its social media platforms.
Forty-five years later, the front-page message to readers in the inaugural edition of The Borneo Post still rings true.
“Being aware of the great and sacred responsibility that a newspaper worthy of its name must assume, we thus try our best to keep you better informed.
“With the aforesaid desire thus implanted, we shall report objectively and fearlessly for we believe that a well-informed society can face the challenges of progress more intelligently and thus contribute more effectively to progress itself, while one where ignorance is rife, progress will and must suffer.”