Almost a hundred current and former employees of Utusan Melayu Bhd held a protest outside the company’s main office in Kuala Lumpur on August 19.
It was reported that the cause of the picketing was because the company owes salaries to 769 staffs, along with delays in payments and claims since January.
Utusan is responsible for the publication of two Malay dailies in the country, Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo.
Following the protest, the press company announced that both of its dailies will cease operations on August 21.
As the oldest Malay-language newspaper, the announcement swiftly made the keyword “Utusan Malaysia” trending on Twitter.
Based on the network of “Utusan Malaysia” on Twitter, it was segregated into several clusters along with numerous influencers.
The biggest cluster in the network was the blue cluster. The topics discussed in this group, regarding the closure of Utusan were related to politics.
@The_Endie responded to Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s claim, stating that Utusan’s woes was caused by Pakatan Harapan’s action in freezing UMNO politicians’ accounts. The account questioned the former Prime Minister on where the money went when Utusan and Media Prime sold their shares earlier this year.
Both media companies were heavily associated with UMNO as the political party had shares in them.
Whereas, @Daud Suratman scolded RSN Rayer for racializing the issue. The Jelutong MP said the “death” of Utusan is an achievement in ending racism.
Both influencers in the blue cluster may have attacked politicians from different parties, but they shared the similarity of tweeting based on the source from Malaysiakini.
Meanwhile, the influencer from the green cluster, @hanimomo, sought donations from Twitter users for the Utusan staff who are going through tough times.
Local celebrity Neelofa tweeted her devastated emotions upon hearing the news of Utusan shutting down. She offered to help the Utusan staff by asking Twitter users to give details of companies who are hiring on her tweet.
On the other hand, @JatIkhwan formed his own group in the network (yellow cluster). The account tweeted her sentimental feelings towards Utusan.
Overall, the news of Utusan shutting down created mixed feelings among the Twitter users. However, the news on the end of Utusan was short-lived.
It was reported that UMNO injected RM1.6 million into Utusan. Thus, the two Malay dailies will resume as usual.
But the price of the newspapers will increase by 50 sen each. Utusan Malaysia increased it price from RM1.50 to RM2, while Kosmo raised its RM1 price tag to RM1.50.