Minister promises ‘due action’ if Utusan bails on employees

Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran says ‘some discussions’ are ongoing with regards to employees of Utusan Melayu Bhd.

PUTRAJAYA: Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran today deflected questions on Utusan Malaysia’s fate should the news group shut down without paying its 769 employees.

“Due action will follow. We all know what’s going to happen to Utusan. You all know, I don’t want to say,” Kula told reporters at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre today.

Reporters had earlier asked if Utusan’s administration would be penalised should the company halt operations without paying its employees.

Nearly 100 current and former employees of Utusan Melayu Bhd demonstrated in front of the daily’s main office yesterday, claiming the company had failed to pay their wages for one-and-a-half months now.

It was reported that the nation’s oldest Malay-language daily would likely halt operations soon, even as early as tomorrow, after 80 years due to financial problems.

FMT understands that the company’s administration met workers this evening to discuss a resolution of their situation at its office in Kuala Lumpur.

Kula said that affected employees would be referred to an employment insurance system that would see them paid some form of compensation over six months.

“In the first month, they will be paid 80% of their salary. The following months will see lower rates of 60%, 40%, and so on.

“In the meantime, we will aid with rehiring and retraining and arrange for new employers to interview them.

“These are the only ways my ministry can help. We have been approached, and some discussions are ongoing. We are not in a position to say anything more that that.”

Kula said the ministry would also help workers prepare resumes and find suitable employers.

“There are many employers with jobs for them, maybe not in the same field, it could be some other job,” he said.