Utusan closure shows print media fading with time, says union

Utusan Melayu closed down operations yesterday.

PETALING JAYA: The National Union of Journalists of Malaysia (NUJ) has expressed concern over the closure of Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd, adding that the print media industry faces crucial challenges in competing in the current news landscape.

NUJ secretary-general Chin Sung Chew said the closure of the media company was a lesson for the media industry, adding that traditional media is fading more and more with time.

“NUJ is apprehensive that similar problems will occur in other media (companies).

“We urge our members to remain calm in these times of difficulty and continue to play our role as the government’s watchdog,” he said.

It was announced yesterday that Utusan Malaysia, the country’s oldest Malay language daily, alongside its sister-paper Kosmo!, would cease publication, leaving its 862 employees without a job.

Chin said the issue of so many workers losing their jobs overnight should not be taken lightly, adding that NUJ would offer assistance to the union’s members.

“NUJ is committed to helping its members pursue their full rights to receive the compensation due to the perfidious layoff by the company’s board of directors.”

Utusan was the country’s oldest Malay language daily, starting as a Jawi daily in Singapore in 1939, employing 2,000 people at its height, including some 500 editorial staff.

The paper was often criticised for its uncomplimentary coverage of opposition leaders during Barisan Nasional’s administration and announced several restructuring measures following the change of government in May 2018.