KUALA LUMPUR: Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd will not cease the publication of Utusan Malaysia and its sister paper, Kosmo!
Utusan executive chairman Datuk Abd Aziz Sheikh Fadzir, however, said there would be a slight price increase to RM2 for Utusan Malaysia (from RM1.50) and RM1.50 for Kosmo! (from RM1) starting this Friday.
“Our operations will resume as usual, although we are facing financial problems. We hope that with the price increase, it will help with the continuation of our operations as well as the staff,” he said after a townhall with the staff at its headquarters in Jalan Chan Sow Lin here.
Aziz also thanked those who had come forward to assist Utusan and hoped that it would continue to receive support through the purchase of its newspapers and advertising.
He called on Malaysians to support Utusan by buying and advertising in its newspapers, and subscribing to its e-papers.
“We are trying our best to produce relevant news because that is our job. Assistance in terms of basic necessities may help the staff, but only temporarily.
“Hence, by buying the newspapers, it will help us in the long run because Utusan will not have to cease operations.”
He said Utusan would continue to produce relevant news.
“Our agenda right now is the country’s agenda. It is true that previously we were owned by Umno. However, after the defeat in the 14th General Election, Umno is no longer able to help.”
Aziz said after a discussion with the board of directors, the company decided it would not be submitting a Practice Note 17 (PN17) regularisation plan to Bursa Malaysia due to its financial situation, which might result in the company being delisted on Aug 30.
“I don’t see any problems in being delisted from Bursa Malaysia,” he said.
“The news about Utusan going to cease publication is what we need to deal with right now. We need your support to help more than 800 staff at the company.”
The company, in a filing with Bursa Malaysia, said that it had failed to regularise its condition based on the main market listing requirements.
A statement from the Utusan board of directors released yesterday said the company’s securities would be delisted unless an appeal against the delisting is submitted to Bursa Securities on or before Aug 27.
Despite being delisted, the company would continue to exist but as an unlisted entity, the statement said.
“Upon the delisting of the company, it will continue to exist but as an unlisted entity. The company is still able to operate and do business and proceed with its corporate restructuring.
“And its shareholders can still be rewarded by the company’s performance. However, they will be holding shares that are no longer quoted and traded on Bursa Securities,” it said.
National Union of Journalists Utusan branch chairman Mohd Taufek Abdul Razak said the staff would receive advanced payouts of RM2,000 after an injection of funds from Umno.
He said RM1.6 million was given after a meeting between Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the company’s board of directors.
“After our picket yesterday (Monday), we will receive funds of RM1.6 million from Umno.”
On Monday, more than 100 staff held a peaceful demonstration in front of the company’s headquarters in Jalan Chan Sow Lin here over unpaid salaries.