The Malay Mail paper to go fully digital

The Malay Mail, Malaysia's oldest newspaper, will print its last edition on Dec 1, amid an increasingly challenging media industry.
The Malay Mail, Malaysia's oldest newspaper, will print its last edition on Dec 1, amid an increasingly challenging media industry.PHOTO: MALAYMAIL/ TWITTER

Malaysia's oldest newspaper, The Malay Mail, will print its last paper 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 Dec 14, 1896.

Editor-in-chief Wong Sai Wan told The Straits Times that the firm, which employs about 165 people, announced to staff yesterday 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, retire or go into business - tell me," he said. By bigger organisations, he was referring to related firms like Redberry, Ancom and Nylex in Malay Mail publisher Siew Ka Wei's stable of companies.

A voluntary severance scheme will also be offered but details have not been finalised.

Datuk Wong said The Malay Mail would expand from being a news outlet to offering a full range of digital products like "managing and marketing" online presence for others.

The circulation of newspapers in Malaysia has dwindled in recent years, with The Malay Mail's print sales at 10,000 daily, down 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 changed hands from the Blue Inc publishing firm to a consortium led by Datuk Siew in 2012.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2018, with the headline 'The Malay Mail paper to go fully digital'. Print Edition | Subscribe