KUALA LUMPUR: The oldest Bahasa Melayu newspaper in the country, Utusan Malaysia, will end operations on Wednesday.
All publications under the Utusan Group, namely Utusan Malaysia, Mingguan Malaysia, Kosmo!, and Kosmo! Ahad will cease all print and online publications.
The National Union of Journalist Malaysia (NUJM) Utusan branch chairman Taufik Razak said that the paper’s executive chairman Datuk Abd Aziz Sheikh Fadzir had said the company was bankrupt.
“We were told that the company has no money left to pay the staff or operate the business any longer,” said Taufek.
News of the closure was conveyed at a meeting between staff representatives and Human Resources Ministry personnel today.
In a Bursa announcement today, the Board of Utusan Melayu said it was unable to submit its Regularisation Plan within 12 months from the date of its admission as PN17 issuers.
After taking into consideration the losses incurred in the first two quarters of 2019 and cash flow constraints, the board is of the view that Utusan Group will not be able to meet Bursa’s requirements to uplift the PN17 status, it said.
It added that the group is also not be able to find any potential investor to participate in order to revive the group, mainly due to its huge liabilities.
Utusan reported a net loss of RM3.89 million for the second quarter which ended June 30, 2019 against a net profit of RM18.85 million in the same quarter a year ago.
For the six-month period, it also incurred a net loss of RM12.09 million versus a net profit of RM13.01 million in the same period last year.
Earlier, 100 staff from the editorial department of the Malay publication staged a protest over unpaid salaries outside their office here. Among them were journalists, graphic artists and photographers.
The group chanted “where are the defenders of the Malays? Where is Umno?” during their peaceful gathering.