Utusan Malaysia, Kosmo! fly off shelves day after public appeal to rescue them

A ‘sold out’ sign for the Utusan Malaysia daily at a shop in Cheras this afternoon.

PETALING JAYA: The Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo! dailies flew off the shelves at many sundry shops, petrol stations and 24-hour convenience stores a day after its publisher appealed to the public to come to their rescue.

A check by FMT revealed that many of these outlets were caught off guard by the extraordinary sales of the two dailies.

“There were still some copies yesterday. But all of today’s copies were sold out by evening,” Siti Nur Fatihah Kamaruddin, who works at the Petronas station here, told FMT, adding that they had ordered 15 copies of Utusan Malaysia and 20 copies of Kosmo!.

An employee at a 7 Eleven outlet in Merchant Square, who only wanted to be known as Ramrup, said all copies of the two dailies were sold out since morning.

“Usually, they don’t sell out.”

Another employee of a sundry shop in Seri Kembangan, who did not want to be named, also said the dailies were snatched up fast.

Yesterday, Utusan Melayu Bhd executive chairman Abd Aziz Sheikh Fadzir said if Malaysians wanted to help rescue the company, they could do so by buying the dailies.

He said this when announcing that its two flagship publications will continue to be published, quashing speculation that the papers will cease printing because of financial woes. However, their cover prices will go up.

The company, which has been publishing Utusan Malaysia for eight decades, has accumulated losses of RM261.61 million as of June 30.

During its heyday in the 1990s, the paper’s circulation peaked at 350,000 copies a day and it was one of the largest selling newspapers in the country. However, sales crashed after 2004, slipping to 250,000, and further down to 144,438 copies in the first half of 2016.

Utusan Melayu Bhd has been in the red since 2012. In August last year, the company triggered the PN17 criteria after defaulting on its principal and profit payments to Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd and Maybank Islamic Bhd, totalling RM1.18 million.