Utusan Malaysia (Jawi: اوتوسن مليسيا; literally The Malaysian Courier) was a Malay-language newspaper published in Malaysia owned by the Utusan Group. Distinctive for its blue masthead as its logo and trademark, Utusan Malaysia was first published in Jawi in 1939. It became an influential medium for the people to voice out their opinions towards the ruling of the British Government in Malaya.
Front page of Utusan Malaysia on 23 May 2015
|Format||Broadsheet (former), Tabloid (current)|
|Owner(s)||The Utusan Group|
|Editor-in-chief||Abdul Aziz Ishak|
|Editor||Datuk Zulkefli Bin Hamzah|
|Deputy editor||Rosmanizam Abdullah|
|News editor||Rozaman Ismail|
Ramli Abdul Karim
Mohd Ridzwan Md Iman
Muhammad Nizam Abdul Hamid
|Founded||1939 (as Utusan Melayu) in Singapore|
1 September 1967 (as Utusan Malaysia)
|Language||Malay and English|
|Ceased publication||October 9, 2019|
|Headquarters||No. 64, Queen Street and |
No. 185, Cecil Street, Singapore (former HQs)
No. 44, Jalan Utusan, Off Jalan Chan Sow Lin, 55200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (current HQ)
|Circulation||154,776 (daily) |
336,233 (Mingguan Malaysia)
4,084 (daily E-paper)
4,035 (Mingguan Malaysia E-paper)
|Free online archives||ww1|
Despite initial reports that Utusan Malaysia and its sister papers Mingguan Malaysia, Kosmo!, and Kosmo! Ahad would be shutting down in mid-August 2019, the newspaper's publisher Utusan Group announced that they would continue publishing after receiving a RM$1.6 million cash injection from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). Though Utusan ceased operations on 9 October 2019, it was subsequently reported that the newspaper would resume publication on 1 November 2019 after Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary's Aurora Mulia acquired a majority stake in Utusan's wholly owned subsidiary Dilof Sdn Bhd, however, the anticipated publication did not materialise.
But in January 2020, it was reported that Utusan Malaysia is set to be revived in several months' time, as several sources in the industry confirming that the Utusan's new management is currently recruiting staff to start working in February and the newspaper is expected to be relaunched by April 2020.
Utusan Malaysia traced its roots to 1939 when it was first published as Utusan Melayu, with its address at Queen Street, Singapore. It was founded by Yusof Ishak, who later became the first President of Singapore, and Abdul Rahim Kajai, dubbed the father of Malay journalism. It temporarily suspended publication during the Japanese occupation of Malaya and Singapore. The newspaper moved its headquarters to Cecil Street, Singapore in 1945, and in 1959 relocated to Kuala Lumpur.
Utusan Malaysia started publication on 1 September 1967, being a romanised version for Utusan Melayu and daily edition of Mingguan Malaysia. Mingguan Malaysia published 2 years earlier, on 30 August 1964.
In 1997, the Group made its entry into the world of multimedia with the launch of "Utusan Malaysia On-Line", Malaysia's first Online Newspaper in full text and visuals. The service provided, in collaboration with Telekom Malaysia, enables pay-subscribers to read exact replicas of the Group's newspapers, including Utusan Malaysia. On 2 July 2001, "Utusan Education Portal" (Portal Pendidikan Utusan) was launched. The free service has received recognition from MIMOS (the "Malaysian Institute of Microelectronic Systems") as one of the top five education websites in Malaysia in 2001.
On 19 August 2019, the Utusan Group announced that Utusan Malaysia, its Sunday paper Mingguan Malaysia, and its sister papers Kosmo! and Kosmo! Ahad would cease their print editions on 21 August 2019 due to the company's financial woes and bankruptcy. Utusan Malaysia will continue its online operations. The decline of Utusan Malaysia's readership and poor financial performance has been attributed by some to its pro-Barisan Nasional and Malay nationalist standpoint. Despite initial reports that the Utusan Malaysia would be shutting down, the Utusan Group reversed their decision after receiving a RM1.6 million cash injection from the United Malays National Organisation. To cover costs, the newspaper's price will be raised by 50 sen to RM 1.50 and Mingguan Malaysia's price would be raised to RM 2.00 beginning 23 August 2019.
In spite of the financial injection, Utusan Malaysia and its sister papers continued to suffer losses and mounting debt from decreasing circulations, and it finally shuttered on 9 October 2019. On 10 October 2019, it was reported that the Utusan Group's newspapers would resume publication on 1 November 2019; however, the anticipated publication did not take place. Aurora Mulia, a company linked to business tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, had reportedly acquired a 70% stake in Utusan's wholly owned subsidiary Dilof Sdn Bhd. However, only some of Utusan's 862 retrenched employees would be re-hired by the new management.
It was reported in January 2020 that Utusan Malaysia and its sister publication, Kosmo! would be relaunched by April 2020.
A new seven-storey high office building was erected in 2010, opposite the existing headquarters. It was built on the former site of a car park for its staff. The official move to the new Kumpulan Utusan premises took place in 2013.
Distinctive for its blue masthead as its logo and trademark, Utusan Malaysia had over 32 pages of news and current affairs, with regular supplements, focusing on such diverse topics as entertainment, fashion, music, health, technology, and politics. It was Malaysia's only broadsheet newspaper in a national language until 16 September 2018, when it switched to tabloid newspaper.
Mingguan Malaysia, Utusan's weekend edition, had a red masthead. Sections such as Pancawarna and Pancaindera (entertainment section) are published in tabloid size, rather than broadsheet.
Utusan Malaysia's circulation peaked at 350,000 copies a day in the 1990s and it was one of the largest selling newspapers in Malaysia. Circulation had declined by about 250,000 in 2004 and further down to 144,438 copies in first half of 2016. Mingguan Malaysia, the Sunday edition of Utusan Malaysia, had a circulation of 313,495 on first half of 2016, which made it the most popular newspaper in the Malay language.
|9 February 1965||Utusan's headquarters new extra building in Jalan Chan Sow Lin opened by Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's first prime minister.|
|22 June 1972||Malaysia's second prime minister, Abdul Razak Hussein, opened extra block of new office in Utusan's headquarters in Jalan Chan Sow Lin.|
|30 May 1982||Hussein Onn opened new printing plant in Utusan's headquarters at Jalan Chan Sow Lin, and also new printing machine, Goss Urbanite Web Offset.|
|5 December 1988||The launching of World Sepaktakraw Championships organised with RTM and Malaysia Airlines, to promote Sepaktakraw to align with other sports.|
|21 May 1989||Utusan's Mini-Marathon organised to celebrate 50th anniversary of this newspaper has been followed by 11,000 participant, with that recorded the highest number of participants ever found in any marathon in the country.|
|2 May 1991||The opening of Utusan's printing plant in Gong Badak was officiated by Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, the Sultan of Trengganu Darul Iman.|
|17 January 1996||Utusan Malaysia became the first Malaysian newspaper with full visual and text to get onto the International Superhighway when it launched "Utusan Malaysia On-Line" in four languages. Utusan Express, the electronic newspaper in English, was launched on 19 September 1996.|
|23 May 1997||Utusan is the first media group to organise an expedition that garnered the country global recognition. In true spirit of Malaysia Boleh, "The Project Malaysia - Everest 97", which was in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth & Sports, has made it possible for Malaysians to conquer the world's highest mountain.|
|8 November 2007||In the Deepavali celebration, Utusan has sold about 370.586 copies, than Kosmo! sold about 162,935 copies. Only three newspapers published in Malaysia, also Chinese-language newspapers, Oriental Daily News.|
Just one day after the 2013 general elections, in which the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition suffered what was until then its worst-ever results, Utusan published a highly racist feature article with the headline "Apa lagi Cina mahu?" ("What else do the Chinese want?") accusing Chinese Malaysians of trying to overthrow the Malay-dominated government and labelling them "ungrateful". Third-party analysts have noted that the massive electoral swing could be attributed to urban votes of all races deserting the ruling coalition wholesale, rather than pinpointed to any particular race. Despite Prime Minister Najib Razak's defence of the newspaper, Utusan earned widespread condemnation from Malaysians for its unapologetic race-baiting.
In view of Utusan's extreme racist rhetoric, the former Opposition-led Perak state government staged a boycott against the newspaper, with other Opposition states following suit. A motion was also set by the Selangor state government to boycott Utusan while all Selangor state agencies and departments were told to refrain from buying and advertising in the newspaper, in a move to protest a short story titled "Politik Baru YB J" by columnist Datuk Chamil Wariya that appeared in the paper which mentioned the assassination of a fictional character resembling Democratic Action Party assemblywoman Teresa Kok.
In January 2011, the newspaper suspended a senior journalist, Hata Wahari, president of the National Union of Journalists, after alleging that Hata had brought the newspaper into disrepute and "insulted" its management. Hata was later dismissed from the Utusan group in May of that year. On 20 May 2013, Hata staged a one-man protest in front of the Utusan Melayu headquarters, calling for an end to "irresponsible journalism" and "racist reporting". He was consequently jeered and labelled a "communist" by the Utusan staff gathered there, who also hurled two packets of fried bihun at him.
The widely perceived view that Utusan Malaysia was nothing more than a propaganda newsletter for the ruling government was given much greater credence after its deputy chief editor Zaini Hassan openly stated in a forum organised by the National Civics Bureau that it was acceptable for Utusan to "spin facts" to be "biased in our [the BN Government's] favour". The Malaysiakini reporter covering the forum was later barred from attending.
Utusan offered an apology after running news of an 87-year-old Catholic missionary in Java who purportedly converted to Islam after recovering from a coma. It later turned out that the article was sourced from a fictional news story on a satirical website, the World News Daily Report.
Numerous lawsuits were filed against Utusan by several personalities from the former Pakatan Rakyat coalition. Notably, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng successfully sued for libel twice against the paper, winning RM400,000 in accumulated damages for both lawsuits.
On 21 January 2013, the High Court awarded Anwar Ibrahim RM45,000 in damages after a series of Utusan articles deliberately misrepresented his statement in a BBC interview so as to suggest that the opposition leader was pro-LGBT (a controversial stance in Muslim-majority Malaysia). The paper's lawyer triggered significant uproar during proceedings when he argued that newspapers did not have the "luxury of time" to ascertain the truth of their reports.
Awards and recognitionEdit
Utusan won the "IFRA Publish Asia 2003 Award" for the "Best in Print" category on 20 March 2002. It was the first award to be won by the newspaper at the international level.
Notes and referencesEdit
- "Editorial". Utusan Group. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- "Circulation Figures Newspapers - West and East Malaysia, July-December 2015" (PDF). Audit Bureau of Circulations Malaysia. 15 December 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- "Circulation Figures Digital Replica" (PDF). Audit Bureau of Circulations Malaysia. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- Buang, Shakira (20 August 2019). "Utusan gets RM1.6m reprieve from Umno". Malaysiakini. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
- Habibu, Sira (20 August 2019). "Utusan not shuttering, price of paper to increase by 50 sen". The Star. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
- "Utusan Group ceases operations, staff told to vacate offices by 1pm Wednesday (Oct 9)". The Star. 9 October 2019. Archived from the original on 9 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- "End of the road for Utusan". Free Malaysia Today. 9 October 2019. Archived from the original on 10 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- "Utusan Melayu henti operasi perniagaan". Utusan Malaysia. 9 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- "Utusan ceases publication but may be back soon". The Star. 10 October 2019. Archived from the original on 10 October 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- Asyraf, Faisal. "Some of Utusan workers will be rehired by new company, says Dr M". Malaysiakini. Archived from the original on 10 October 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- "NUJ confirms Utusan revival, job calls now open". Malaysiakini. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
- Kevin Davasagayam. "Utusan to be back soon: Reports". The Sun (Malaysia). Retrieved 24 January 2020.
- SM Amin. "Utusan expects to reopen in April". The Malaysian Insight. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
- "Utusan, Malaysia's oldest newspaper, and Kosmo! to cease publication". The Straits Times. 19 August 2019. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- Yunus, Arfa (20 August 2019). "Utusan no more?". New Straits Times. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- Lau, Leslie (20 August 2019). "As 'Utusan Malaysia' runs aground, a sign of darker days ahead for Malaysian media". The Malay Mail. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- Lim, Huey Teng (20 August 2019). "DAP MP wants gov't to help Utusan staff despite 'hurtful propaganda'". Malaysiakini. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- "Utusan Melayu not closing down, publications to cost 50 sen more". The Sun. 20 August 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
- Loheswar, R. (20 August 2019). "Utusan, Kosmo! won't shut down after all, but print editions to cost an extra 50 sen". The Malay Mail. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
- "Bangunan baru Kumpulan Utusan". Utusan Karya. Archived from the original on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- "Utusan Melayu saves RM3m with new office". The Malaysian Insider. 26 May 2010. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- "Perasmian Ibu Pejabat Baru Utusan, 13 Sep 2013". Utusan Malaysia. 13 September 2013. Archived from the original on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- "Pembinaan Bangunan Baharu Ibu pejabat Utusan Melayu". Utusan Malaysia. 18 May 2013. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- "Circulation Figures - Paid Newspapers print edition Geographical Distribution - West & East Malaysia - January 2016 to June 2016" (PDF). Audit Bureau of Circulations Malaysia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- Hamid, Herman (13 April 2008). "Ketuanan Melayu tercabar - Kaum lain lebih dominan dari segi politik, ekonomi – Tengku Faris". Utusan Malaysia. Archived from the original on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- Baker, Ab Jalil (19 March 2008). "Persoal pemimpin Melayu tolak DEB". Utusan Malaysia. Archived from the original on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- "Bangkitlah Melayu". Utusan Malaysia. 15 April 2019. Archived from the original on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- Bakar, Zulkiflee (7 May 2013). "Apa lagi orang Cina mahu?". Utusan Malaysia. Archived from the original on 6 June 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- Boo, Su-Lyn (7 May 2013). "GE13 an urban, not Chinese swing, say analysts". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- "Motion for Selangor govt bodies to boycott Utusan". The Star. Archived from the original on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- on YouTube
- "NUJ president suspended from Utusan". The Star. 15 January 2011. Archived from the original on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- Zulkifi, Zulaikha (20 May 2013). "'Flying bihun' greets lone protester at Utusan HQ". Malaysiakini. Archived from the original on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- Fadli KC, Ahmad (14 July 2012). "Utusan editor: Spinning to attack opposition is okay". Malaysiakini. Archived from the original on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- "Utusan forced to say sorry after running fake story of Catholic priest's conversion to Islam". The Malay Mail. 12 October 2014. Archived from the original on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- "Guan Eng wins suit against Utusan". The Star. 14 December 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-01-07. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- Teoh, Shannon (22 June 2012). "Guan Eng wins second defamation suit against Utusan". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 24 June 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- Chooi, Clara (14 December 2012). "Court finds Utusan article 'mischievous', awards Karpal RM50k". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 15 December 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- Lim, Ida; Toh, Chin Hong (27 December 2012). "Utusan lawyer: Newspapers lack 'luxury of time' to vet truth". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- "High Court rules in favour of Anwar in defamation case against Utusan". The Star. Archived from the original on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- Yatim, Hafiz (21 January 2013). "Court: Utusan defamed Anwar over LGBT remarks". Malaysiakini. Archived from the original on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- AR, Zurairi (21 January 2013). "Anwar wins suit against Utusan, court rules articles 'distorted'". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- Hashim, Mohamad Faizal (10 April 2015). "Utusan menang dua Anugerah Media Johor". Utusan Malaysia. Archived from the original on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.