KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 — Malay Mail lost one of its pioneer journalists from the post-Merdeka era today Peter Moss died Saturday after battling respiratory illness the past two weeks. He was 84.
Born in Allahabad, India, Moss’ father was in the British army. Unable to find his own identity due to him living in a foreign country, Moss was seeking new adventures when a thoughtful aunt sent him a newspaper article from Malay Mail that changed his life.
Inspired to come to Malaysia, Moss travelled from London to India by bus then came to Penang from Calcutta by sea. He then spent eight years in Malay Mail as a roving reporter.
“Back then in 1957, there were no other beats other than working on the news desk,” said veteran Malay Mail journalist Tony Mariadass who had met and written about Moss’ escapades in his column titled “Rolling Stones that gathered Moss” in October 2016.
“I heard of him and was very interested to meet him. He was a motoring columnist as well so I and former Malay Mail photographer Azneal Ishak went to visit him at his house in Ijok, Selangor.”
After completing his studies Moss was an apprentice reporter at Bexhill-on-Sea Observer before joining the National Service with the Royal Army Pay Corps from 1953 to 1955. He was district reporter from East Sussex Express and County Herald from 1955 to 1957 before coming to Malaysia.
Moss had worked for most of his life in Hong Kong and was about to go to Manila when he passed away. He dabbled in movie scripts, screenplays, documentaries and shorts.
Moss was appointed Justice of Peace in 1986 and in January 1994 was awarded the M.B.E in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.
During his days with Malay Mail from 1957, he reported on the last years of the Malayan Emergency, the initial years of independence, the Rural Development Scheme that would become Felda, the birth of Malaysia, and the Confrontation with Indonesia.
In 1960 he was handpicked by Sir Robert Thomson, then Malaya’s secretary for security, to write a series on the ‘Hidden War’ which continued on the Thai-Malayan border after the end of the Emergency, an assignment which saw him attached to operational units on both sides of the frontier.
He was on the way to Manila when tragedy struck.
“I was hoping to meet up with him again in March when I go to Manila, but he is gone now and may he rest in peace,” said Tony on his Facebook post.
‘May the good Lord grant him eternal rest. We will all miss you immensely.”