KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's oldest newspaper, The Malay Mail, will print its last edition on Dec 1, as the tabloid goes fully digital in an increasingly challenging media industry.
The newspaper turns 122 this year. It was first published on December 14, 1896.
Editor-in-chief Wong Sai Wan told The Straits Times that the company, which employs about 165 people, announced to staff on Thursday (Oct 25) afternoon that it was undergoing "a change of business direction" which would see it cut a-third of its wage bill.
"I have also offered the staff one week to tell me what they want to do - retrain, join a bigger organisation, get us to help them look for a job or retire or go into business - tell me," he said.
Datuk Wong's reference to bigger organisations was to related firms like Redberry, Ancom and Nylex which are part of Malay Mail publisher Siew Ka Wei's stable of companies.
A voluntary severance scheme will also be offered but details have not been finalised.
Mr Wong said Malay Mail would expand from being just a news outlet to offering a full range of digital products such as "managing and marketing" online presence for others.
The circulation of newspapers in Malaysia has dwindled in recent years, with Malay Mail's print sales currently at 10,000 daily from a peak of over 60,000 decades ago.
According to The Malay Mail, Mr Wong told staff in a town hall meeting "the old way of doing the newspaper business of advertising subsidising the circulation, editorial and printing costs is no longer viable".
The Malay Mail was part of the New Straits Times Press' stable of newspapers until it was relaunched by Media Prima in 2008 as a free afternoon paper. It then changed hands from the Blue Inc publishing firm to a consortium led by Mr Siew in 2012.