Utusan woes a business problem; don't politicise it - Annuar
The problems faced by the Utusan Melayu Group are business-related and not political, said Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa.
"Utusan's problems are a management and business problem, it should not be politicised," he said in a statement this evening.
Staff from Utusan Malaysia and sister publication Kosmo! have not been paid for up to three months and have been informed that print operations would cease on Wednesday.
The management, however, has said it would give staff a salary advance of up to a maximum of RM2,000, subject to what the group can afford, tonight.
Annuar in his statement stressed that Umno had sold its Utusan shares in February and as such was no longer in control of the group's management.
In February, Umno sold 31.61 percent of its stake in Utusan to its former Kulim Bandar Baharu MP Abd Aziz Sheikh Fadzir for RM6.65 million, representing a 65.2 percent premium.
Annuar also said while Umno sympathised with the staff, the party itself couldn't afford to offer financial help as its accounts had been frozen by the authorities in relation to the 1MDB probe.
Umno's funds were frozen as authorities said they had originated from former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's bank account the funds of which investigators claim were stolen from state-owned 1MDB.
The government is seeking to forfeit RM116 million from the party.
Despite all this, Annuar said Umno was helping the staff on a humanitarian basis.
Earlier at a press conference, he also stressed that Umno was not washing its hands of Utusan's financial woes.