FORMER Star assistant editor and mstar editor Fauziah Mohd Johar, better known by her pen name Zieman, passed away at 5.30pm today at the Universiti Malaya Medical centre from kidney failure. She was 60. Zieman was admitted to UMMC on Dec 8 for various medical complications, including kidney failure. Her death was confirmed by her son, Qadim Shahir.
A veteran entertainment journalist, Zieman was well-versed with the local entertainment scene and was often the go-to person when it came to anything to do with what was going on with local entertainment and celebrities. Despite her stature as a senior writer, she was also well-known for mentoring and guiding younger journalists.
Zieman was also an expert on Bollywood music and films, long before Bollywood became hip.
Zieman started her career as a journalist with the New Straits Times in the mid-1980s before joining Star Media Group in March 2000.
She joined The Star as Chief Reporter but eventually became editor of mStar and finally assistant editor of The Star before she accepted the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) in 2019 and retired.
She was among the founding members of the Persatuan Wartawan dan Penulis Hiburan Malaysia (WHAM).
She was also an acclaimed lyricist, writing hits for local band Headwind (Mu Bagai Mimpi, 1988 and Kasihku Abadi, 2017)), Loving Born (Mengapa, 1988), Rina Khan (Sketsa Cinta, 1991), Alleycats (Sehati Tak Sejiwa, 1998) and Qadeem Shaher (Mengapa, 2020).
Her colleagues knew her to be a a colourful, friendly and fun character. Although she was a single mother of six children, she remained ever youthful and cool.
“She joined Star from a rival media but she quickly became one of us. She was the elder sister to many of us and was witty and sharp till the end. She was full of life and humour. A big personality, we will miss her,” said Star Media Group chief content officer Esther Ng.
“Zieman was iconic. She knew every celebrity personally and was the go-to person. It was common to see artistes turning up at The Star to see her. She was really good in her job. Even now, many celebrities are texting me to find out if the sad news is true,” said Star Media Group advisor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai.
“Zieman comes from an era where entertainment writers were just as flamboyant as the pop stars. She had that energy, aura and that charismatic confidence that celebrities had. And how she could spot a good entertainment story. Zieman practically knew everybody in the local pop scene, and could open doors for you if you needed her help. While she could walk into a room and pop stars would stop to stare, Zieman was also someone who put in the hours in the office… we saw her serious side as she chased an entertainment scoop, always making sure she had a story that would be the talk of the town,” said Daryl Goh, StarLifestyle editor who worked with Zieman in the early 2000s.
Zieman will be laid to rest and the Bukit Kiara Muslim Cemetary on Thursday (Dec 30) before the Zohor prayers.