KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — Utusan Malaysia and its sister publication Kosmo! will continue their operations but are set to increase the price of their editions by an additional 50 sen.
According to sources, Utusan Malaysia employees were told that the company will continue the print and online editions while its management tries to get their finances in order.
The Utusan Malaysia print edition will be an additional 50 cents from the current RM1.50 while the Kosmo! print edition will increase from RM1 to RM1.50 and Mingguan Malaysia will increase from RM2 to RM2.50.
“We were told we won’t shut down and the company can continue to stay afloat if we can reach our sales targets,” an Utusan Malaysia source told Malay Mail.
“What these sales targets are I’m not too sure but for now, we are still operational.
“Management are in the midst of gaining their CF (certificate of fitness) and it’s an ongoing process. If we can get that done we were told the finances will be more stable.”
According to sources, the company also has set a daily sales target of RM50,000 to RM60,000 for Utusan Malaysia and RM90,000 to RM100,000 for Kosmo!
The new prices will come into effect on Friday.
“I am glad to see the union picketing yesterday as it’s garnered national attention.
“For those out there who have said they love Utusan and Kosmo! and want them to continue operating, then we implore them to buy the papers despite the price increase.
“We need around RM3 million a month to pay salaries. With the sales targets we’ve set, we can almost hit that target,” said Utusan’s Executive Chairman Datuk Abd Aziz Sheikh Fadzir during his briefing with his staff earlier today.
A recording of the briefing was made available to Malay Mail.
Abd Aziz said the company has been looking for investors for some time and he has no problems selling his shares if the need arises.
He said many have told Utusan Malaysia that for the business to be viable it needs to reduce staff numbers to around 60 to 100 people.
“So I told them OK if that’s what it takes, me and my 31 per cent and Umno with their 19 per cent are ready to sell.
“Whenever we hear there’s someone interested in buying, we go to see them. But to find investors is still difficult.
“In the end, we had two options, either stop print first, then use the cash to pay salaries but print advertisement revenue is at RM2.5 million, while online advertisements are only at RM200,000.
“So in order to continue paying wages, we must liquidate our assets which is also taking time.
“Option two is to fight on and continue this way but we need to downsize.
“In the end, this is not a quick fix and an ongoing thing which we are going to strive to find a solution for,” said Abd Aziz.