One of Malaysia’s oldest newspaper, Utusan, to shut down tomorrow , Latest World News - The New Paper

One of Malaysia’s oldest newspaper, Utusan, to shut down tomorrow

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PETALING JAYA : One of the oldest newspapers in Malaysia will cease operations tomorrow after a sustained period of financial uncertainty.

The decision to close Utusan Malaysia was made by the board of directors at a meeting earlier yesterday, and sources said the closure will be finalised once the group is delisted from Bursa Malaysia. All publications under the Utusan Group - Utusan Malaysia, Mingguan Malaysia, Kosmo!, and Kosmo! Ahad - will cease print and online publications.

Utusan Malaysia's National Union of Journalists chief Taufek Razak said executive chairman Abd Aziz Sheikh Fadzir admitted the company was penniless. The sad news was communicated at a meeting between staff representatives and the Human Resources Ministry personnel yesterday.

The Utusan Group has not paid its staff since June. Even before this, it had repeatedly delayed salary payments.

Salaries for executive staff were also delayed for two months, with the last partial payment of RM2,000 (S$660) being paid in June.

This despite it having initiated a voluntary separation scheme (VSS) that saw its staff cut from 1, 400 to 823. Even VSS payments have been delayed.

Utusan Malaysia was first published as Utusan Melayu in Jawi in 1939 in Singapore.

It was founded by Mr Yusof Ishak, who later became the first president of Singapore, and Mr Abdul Rahim Kajai, known as the father of Malay journalism.

Its office was relocated to Kuala Lumpur in 1959. The romanised version of Utusan Melayu, Utusan Malaysia, started printing on Sept 1, 1967. - THE STAR