KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today mockingly “thanked” DAP’s RSN Rayer for his initial celebration of news that Utusan Malaysia would be shut down, saying that actually led to an outpouring of public support for the Malay daily.
As a result, Najib said that Utusan Malaysia would not be shutting down.
“Jelutong has done service to Utusan.
“His statement yesterday saying he was happy were among the reasons more people have come out to support Utusan.
“Therefore, Utusan is no longer closing down. Thank you Jelutong,” Najib said in his post.
Najib had previously blamed the Pakatan Harapan government for the demise of Utusan Malaysia, adding how former major shareholders Umno were unable to aid the situation with their frozen bank accounts.
The daily was supposed to cease operations today following their dire financial situation, that triggered a picket demonstration by their employees on Monday.
However, an about-turn decision to instead increase its retail price by 50 cents in attempts to stay afloat was announced at the eleventh hour yesterday.
Rayer yesterday released his statement saying the daily were merely paying the price of being a political mouthpiece for decades, then further damning the paper by saying it had not contributed any sweat to nation building and national integration since independence.
He had initially described Utusan Malaysia’s shutting down as “Pakatan Harapan’s greatest achievement” but quickly removed this in an updated press statement two hours later.
The DAP man had also expressed sympathy for Utusan’s employees, saying they were not to blame for the situation but the top brass and editors who should shoulder the blame.
The news agency, while already owing some RM1.2 million to two banks, had reportedly failed to pay employees’ salaries since June,
Yesterday Utusan Malaysia’s management announced that RM2,000 would be banked into the accounts of their employees as a portion of wages owed to them.