Malaysia's oldest Malay language newspaper Utusan is back after nine-month shutdown

Utusan Malaysia was first published as Utusan Melayu in Jawi script in 1939 in Singapore.
Utusan Malaysia was first published as Utusan Melayu in Jawi script in 1939 in Singapore.PHOTO: UTUSANONLINE/FACEBOOK

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's oldest Malay language newspaper Utusan Malaysia, which stopped publication in October last year, has returned under new ownership and is touting "credibility" as the backbone of its operations.

Its sister publication, a tabloid called Kosmo!, is also back.

Both are published by Media Mulia Sdn Bhd, which media reports say is controlled by tycoon Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary through his company Aurora Mulia.

Utusan and Kosmo! used to be controlled by Umno, until poor financial performace forced it to cease operations nine months ago, with more than 800 workers losing their jobs.

Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar also owns 31.22 per cent in Media Prima Bhd, Malaysia's largest media conglomerate.

Media Prima controls four top private TV stations - TV3, NTV7, 8TV and TV9.

It is also the parent company of the New Straits Times Press that publishes the New Straits Times, Berita Harian, and Harian Metro.

The reclusive tycoon also publishes business newspaper The Malaysian Reserve.

In a message on Utusan's return, Media Mulia group editor Mohamad Azlan Jaafar said the paper aims to restore readers' confidence with information that is "trustworthy and thought-provoking".

"Credibility will be the backbone of the operations," he wrote.

The paper now carries the tagline Pemikiran Baharu (New Thinking).

 

Said Mr Azlan: "The digital explosion, public's perception, trust deficit, (as well as) failure to meet the needs of readers and balance commercial and editorial interests led to the end of this newspaper over nine months ago.

"The people today want objective, accurate, truthful and fair reporting whether from political, social or economic aspects."

The page 1 headline on its print version was "Bangkit Semula", or Rising Again. The report was about Malaysia's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

It also has a digital presence on Facebook under Utusan Online, and also a website.

Utusan Malaysia was first published as Utusan Melayu in Jawi script in 1939 in Singapore.

It was founded by Mr Yusof Ishak, who later became the first president of Singapore, and Mr Abdul Rahim Kajai, known as the father of Malay journalism.