Annuar: We have not abandoned Utusan Malaysia

Annuar: We have not abandoned Utusan Malaysia

PUCHONG: Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa today denied accusations that the party had abandoned the troubled Malay daily Utusan Malaysia- an organisation that was championing Umno’s cause in the past.

Annuar said his party was doing its best to help Utusan Malaysia. However, their hands are tied as Umno’s bank accounts have been frozen by the government.

“I agree with what Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today. If the government can be kind enough to unfreeze our accounts, we will be in a better position to assist Utusan.

“Our cash and accounts have been frozen for more than a year — putting Umno in a tight financial position. Otherwise, we could help Utusan.

“If tomorrow our accounts are unfrozen, we have more than RM200 million and we can help with their welfare,” he said.

Utusan Malaysia, which is dubbed as Malaysia’s oldest newspaper, will cease operations tomorrow due to its financial woes.

Many of its staffs have not been paid salaries for months, causing many of them resorting to obtaining loans from loan sharks just to stay afloat.

Journalists groups have stepped in to provide assistance to Utusan Malaysia’s staffs, providing them essentials such as disposable diapers and milk formula.

Touching on Utusan Malaysia’s plight, Annuar said the daily could count on the party’s support in the past as it was a major shareholder in the news organisation.

“Umno used to hold substantial shares in Utusan. But in the beginning of this year, Umno decided to forego a major bloc of shares.

“We hold a remaining small percentage of shares now. Umno no longer has any say in the day to day operations of Utusan Malaysia. As far as we are concerned, the daily now faces business problems and not political problems.

“And we strongly believe that they need a business solution but we are in no position to dictate or say anything because we are no longer the majority shareholders. So, I think Utusan Malaysia’s board of directors should determine what needs to be done,” he said.

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Tan Sri Annuar MusaUmnoUtusan Malaysia