543 from NSTP to be axed in retrenchment exercise

NSTP bureaus across the country will be merged as part of a retrenchment exercise by parent company Media Prima Bhd. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: A total of 543 staff from the New Straits Times Press (NSTP) group will be out of a job come March 12 following a retrenchment exercise by parent company Media Prima Bhd.

NSTP National Union of Journalists chairman Farah Marshita Abdul Patah said in a statement that these will include personnel from the New Straits Times, Berita Harian and Harian Metro.

She also told FMT that bureaus nationwide would be trimmed to five from the previous 14, with departments in the east coast (Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu), north (Penang, Kedah, Ipoh and Perlis) and south (Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka) to be merged.

The Shah Alam and Putrajaya bureaus will also be merged, while Sabah and Sarawak will have a bureau each.

“There will be two reporters in each bureau,” Farah told FMT.

FMT recently reported that hundreds of staff would be axed this week in the latest series of journalist lay-offs.

A source said those who lose their jobs would have no choice or option to appeal when termination letters are served to them.

The expected retrenchments come amid a spate of media company shutdowns and downsizing exercises in an industry which has seen thousands lose their jobs over the last three years.

On Oct 9, Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo! announced their final appearance at news stands nationwide after publisher Utusan Melayu Bhd went into liquidation.

Early last month, Media Prima, which owns NSTP and a slew of television channels, announced job cuts affecting thousands of employees. It said this was part of a “restructuring exercise” to be completed by the first quarter of next year.