"Utusan" has become one of the top five trending searches on the Internet following a report of the newspaper company’s shutdown today because of financial difficulties.
The shocking bulletin sparked a flurry of sympathetic tweets, a few job offers and a call to stand in solidarity with Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd’s employees who have been laid off and now face an uncertain future.
Ida Nadirah tweeted: “Utusan Malaysia has ceased operations effective today, which leaves the fate of 800 employees in limbo. It is a sad day for the media industry. I am lost for words.”
Esther Landau tweeted: “So sad to hear about the shut down of Utusan and Kosmo publication today. That's the end of the oldest Malay paper in Malaysia? Pls don't be racist here guys and pls have sympathy to all the workers in both publications.”
Joe tweeted: “Gotta feel for Utusan friends who've been told just this morning to clear their desks by 1pm. What a horrible predicament, won't wish it on anyone. Bertabahlah sahabat-sahabat.”
Amidst the doom and gloom, some job openings have been advertised, with one Tweeter appealing for even more to be provided and for a movement to be started to help the employees – journalists, photographers, graphic artists and more – who are now out of work.
Nizam Bakeris tweeted: “Our team in @enervive is looking for one gfx designer and one social media producer. Our friends in Utusan & Kosmo yang berminat boleh forward resume ke sini [email protected]”
Mohd Faizal Hassan in his tweet stated: “Dari terus berduka, ayuh sebarkan peluang pekerjaan kepada rakan-rakan di kumpulan Utusan. Mohon kongsi peluang pekerjaan yang ada ditempat kalian berkaitan penulisan, media & sebagainya!! Twitter, please do your magic!”
The Utusan group made headlines on Aug 21 when it was said that the company was facing major financial problems but would not cease publication and instead would raise the price of its papers by 50 sen starting Aug 23 to try to ensure its survival.
Yet it still ceased operations with workers given till 1pm today to pack up and leave and return all company property including access cards.
On Aug 30, the publisher of the country's oldest Malay daily was delisted from Bursa Malaysia, with a last traded price of 5.5 sen. - Bernama