KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — The country’s oldest Malay daily Utusan Malaysia will continue to operate under the management of a firm reportedly linked to tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, despite the operational shutdown of its former holding company Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd today, The Edge reported this evening.
The business paper quoted the latter’s executive chairman Datuk Abd Aziz Sheikh Fadzir as saying that Utusan “will live on” and is expected to be relaunched “in the near future”, but under new owners, named Aurora Mulia, which has acquired its printing licences.
“Utusan will live on. We are liquidating the holding company but the ownership of the printing licences [has] been acquired by Aurora Mulia and they will relaunch publications in the near future,” Abdul Aziz was quoted as saying.
Aurora Mulia is said to be linked to Syed Mokhtar. The Edge also reported that the company’s name recently surfaced in listed media group Media Prima Bhd. It has a 31.22 per cent stake in the company to-date.
But whether or not the reboot of Utusan Malaysia will see its existing workforce transferred to a new holding entity remains unclear. Abdul Aziz was quoted as saying that the call is up to the new shareholders.
On Sunday, Utusan Malaysia announced a 70 per cent sale of its interest in subsidiary, Dilof Sdn Bhd to Aurora Mulia for an undisclosed sum. The sale was to ensure the continuity of the Malay daily and the 15-year-old Kosmo!, another Malay daily under its stable.
Dilof is the holding vehicle for the printing licences and archives for Utusan and Kosmo!, and the change in ownership of the licences had been approved by the Home Ministry in early October, Abdul Aziz explained.
The business portal added that a check on the Companies Commission of Malaysia database showed Dilof as having been renamed as Media Mulia Sdn Bhd effective October 7, a day after the acquisition.
The Utusan Malaysia management announced this afternoon that it would cease operations officially today, after a prolonged financial crisis that saw its workers protest it over unpaid wages.
Its publisher, Utusan Melayu Bhd, sent out a circular to inform employees that its board of directors approved on October 7, the creditors’ voluntary liquidation and appointed UHY Advisory KL as its interim liquidator.