Publisher seeks new blood as Utusan set to relaunch in next few months

In October last year, about 800 of Utusan employers lost their jobs as the nation’s oldest Malay language daily officially ceased operations after a prolonged financial crisis that saw its workers protest over unpaid wages. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
In October last year, about 800 of Utusan employers lost their jobs as the nation’s oldest Malay language daily officially ceased operations after a prolonged financial crisis that saw its workers protest over unpaid wages. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 — Malay daily Utusan Malaysia is set to be relaunched later this year, first as print version together with sister publication tabloid Kosmo! and a digital version afterwards.

Several sources in the industry have confirmed that publisher Media Mulia Sdn Bhd (formerly Dilof Sdn Bhd) is currently recruiting staff to start working in February.

“It will likely be announced in February. However, the first edition might be coming out during Ramadan, or Aidilfitri in May,” one of sources told Malay Mail under the condition of anonymity.

However, it is unknown whether the new publication will recruit former staff of the daily, who effectively lost their jobs after original publisher Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd shut down its operations in October last year.

“There is a list of Utusan editors and journalists who will be offered jobs, but there is no guarantee, as a new editor-in-chief will take care of it,” the source said.

An advertisement by Media Mulia looking for new staff has been making rounds among former Utusan journalists since earlier this week.

Among the positions on offer are news editor, assistant news editor, reporter, creative designer, and photographer.

Meanwhile, another source told Malay Mail that the management of this new entity will be led by an editor who is currently running a business newspaper, with “one or two” former Utusan editors tasked to assist him.

“The new leader is tasked by the new owner to oversee its operation,” he said.

Malay Mail has requested for comments from said editor regarding the matter, but has yet to receive an answer.

The source confirmed that the new Utusan and Kosmo! will also be headquartered together with the New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad (NSTP) in Bangsar.

NSTP is owned by media conglomerate Media Prima Bhd. Aurora Mulia, the company linked to tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, has major stakes in both Media Prima and Media Mulia.

In October last year, about 800 of Utusan employers lost their jobs as the nation’s oldest Malay language daily officially ceased operations after a prolonged financial crisis that saw its workers protest over unpaid wages.

In the month after, Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Redzuan Yusof had announced that Utusan is set to restart its operations in early 2020 to help Putrajaya disseminate information on the current Pakatan Harapan administration’s initiatives and policies.

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