Born as Muhammad Nizam Khamis in 1976, he graduated with a Bachelors in Law LL.B from University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). He held the position of Chief Legal Officer at Sepang International Circuit for five years, overseeing the track’s milestone events such as the F1 Grand Prix. Despite his training as a lawyer, Jiman found his true calling in the media and entertainment industry where he carved a name for himself as a fashion maverick.
In 2019, he founded his own public relations agency, JCPR. Not long after, the firm was handling many blue-chip accounts such BAD LAB, Dutch Lady Malaysia, Rainforest Fringe Festival Kuching and INCEIF – The Global University of Islamic Finance, among many others.
Jiman’s punk rock sensibilities and style immediately got him noticed in the fashion industry. He was a regular presence in major fashion shows, even gracing runways and front covers of magazines, including FirstClasse’s August 2023 Inspire cover. When we sat down with him, he shared the story behind his moniker.
“When I was reading law, back in university, there was already a senior named Nizam and they disliked having two persons with the same name in the same faculty. Because I was a junior, I had to alter my name and the first thing my friend said to me was, ‘You look like Jins Samsuddin, from the movie Esok Untuk Siapa, and the name Nizam rhymes with Jiman. Give it a go!’
“I went with it, and the moniker has stayed with me to this day. I don’t think anyone recognizes me by the name Nizam. To them, Jiman is always Jiman.” As for his last name, it was adopted after Julian Casablancas — the lead vocalist of The Strokes.
Tributes on social media celebrating his life and work have begun to pour in.
Padma Shri Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, founder of Sutra Foundation, told FirstClasse, “Jiman was a professional of the first order. Sutra’s public profile increased substantially when he took over the PR. But more endearingly, he was principled and has also has a heart of gold for struggling artists and the marginalised.”
“Jiman defended the LGBT community when their private function was raided,” he noted.
Pauline Fan, creative director of PUSAKA said of him: “Jiman was a singular human being and a powerful presence in Malaysia’s creative community. He was unapologetic about just being who he was, and his charismatic intensity left an impression on all who encountered him. Over the past few years, Jiman worked closely with PUSAKA on various occasions — most recently for the concert “Tinariwen Returns to KL” that we organised last December. Jiman was always incredibly supportive of our work with traditional culture. He once told me, “I am already part of PUSAKA’s journey”. We had planned to bring Jiman to visit our Mak Yong and Main Puteri communities in Kelantan one day; I only wish we had more time to make this journey together.”
Dina Zaman, co-founder of IMAN Research described Jiman as a multihyphenate. “I knew Jiman from the 1990s. That young kid, who read all my work, supported it, bought them all, grew up to be a bona fide personality. But beneath the glamour, was this young man wanting to make serious change in the world. He shook his head at our useless attempts at branding and PR — and did work for us pro-bono. He handled us with care and great humour.”
Jiman was laid to rest at Tanah Perkuburan Islam, Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur earlier this morning among friends and family.