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Podcast: Kalimullah Hassan Of ECM Libra

By June Ramli

Malaysia’s Rupert Murdoch

Welcome to another episode of 30 minutes with Today, I have a special guest to introduce you to – my former boss Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan, who also happens to be the chairman of ECM Libra, a public-listed company, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Kalimullah began his career as a journalist in 1979 in Penang before going on to work with big news agencies such as the Singapore Straits Times and Reuters.

He was a correspondent and journalist till 1995 after which he decided to venture into the business world. 

It was in 2002 that he and his two partners started a boutique investment advisory firm and four years later it evolved into ECM Libra Investment Bank. 

He remains as a non-Executive Chairman of the group which is now an investment holding company owning a chain of hotels together with their long-term partners – Air Asia owners Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamaruddin Meranun. 

Other than leading his own company, some of Datuk Seri’s notable gigs in the past include being appointed as the chairman of the Malaysian National News Agency Bernama in September 2002 and in January 2004 as the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of Malaysia’s oldest newspaper, the New Straits Times Press Berhad.

After leaving the EIC post in 2005, Kalimullah remained as the Deputy Chairman of the paper up till December 31, 2008.

Since then, he has authored a book titled: “The Malaysia That Could Be” which was published in 2015. 

So, without further ado, let’s bring Kalimullah to the show and ask him how he transitioned himself from a journalist into a high-flying corporate person he is today.

In this podcast we discuss:

  1. How did his involvement in journalism start?
  2. What were some of the hurdles he faced in starting an investment bank?
  3. Was it easy to get a banking licence and hire relevant talent?
  4. Did his contacts at the papers help him with the setting up of ECM Libra?
  5. The best way to choose business partners?
  6. His advice to journalists wanting to quit the profession and start their own businesses?

Without further ado, let’s listen to the interview here:

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