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Utusan Malaysia, the 80 years old Bahasa Malaysia daily will not cease operations after all, says it’s executive director Abd. Aziz Sheikh Fadzir.
He says the paper will continue to print despite the serious financial troubles it is facing since the Barisan Nasional, the government of Najib Razak, lost the elections last year.
Saying that Umno has helped the paper even after the elections, the paper is now facing the reality of the disruptions affecting the news industry.
Denying reports the paper will cease operations today (Wednesday, August 21) as announced by local media in Kuala Lumpur, he says the company has plans to improve its business.
This development puts an end to the wild speculation that the Utusan Group will cease publication because it cannot bear operating costs.
One of the steps taken is the increase of the Utusan Malaysia press price from RM1.50 a piece to RM2.00 a piece.
Meanwhile, Anwar Ibrahim, the Prime-Minister-to-be hopes Utusan Malaysia will pull through and continue publishing.
But he says the government should not get involved in rescuing the private firm.
Utusan Malaysia belongs to shareholders who are Umno members while the party itself has significant shares in the publication.
Observers say the paper’s failure is also because it was no more a ‘Malay’ paper when it started to defend Umno and Najib on the 1MDB scandal and other missteps by the Najib regime.
Nevertheless, Anwar says it is not the government’s responsibility to ‘help’ the company.
Utusan was the main mouthpiece in government attacks against Pakatan Harapan and Anwar himself. It was also used to harass an ex-minister who had just quit Najib’s cabinet in 2016.
The minister, Husni revealed this in the courts while undergoing cross-examination on the SRC International case. The SRC is linked to the 1MDB scandal. Najib Razak was the chair of the SRC. -/TISG