Najib waves to Utusan Melayu staff during a tour of its new building. On his right is Utusan Melayu executive chairman Tan Sri Mohamed Hashim Ahmad Makaruddin. Starpix by AZHAR MAHFOF
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has urged government agencies, government-linked companies and bumiputera-owned companies to give more advertisement opportunities to Malay language daily Utusan Melayu.
He said Utusan could not depend on its circulation alone.
"I see that only this can keep Utusan on track," he said when opening Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd's new headquarters, boasting three seven-storey office blocks along Jalan Enam here.
Najib said the opening was meaningful not only to the Malay-language newspaper group but to the Malay community as a whole.
"I have long wanted for Utusan Melayu to have not just any headquarters, but one with a building that can be considered as a symbol of the successes of the Malays and the country," he told a crowd here.
Praising Utusan, he said the newspaper had honed and challenged its readers while defending the Federal Constitution as the country's supreme law.
Earlier, the paper's executive chairman Tan Sri Hashim Makaruddin said the amount of ad spending by GLCs for Malay dailies was small compared to that of non-Malay papers, calling it "unfair".
He said Utusan was under attack by certain parties, including a small group of Malays that did not value the paper's struggle.
Hisham added that the new building would make the area synonymous with Utusan Melayu, and suggested to the Prime Minister to rename Jalan Enam as Jalan Utusan.
To this, Najib responded to loud cheers from those gathered; "The suggestion to change Jalan Enam's name... hence I agree to rename it to Jalan Utusan".
Utusan turned 75 on Jun 18 this year. It opened in 1938 on Queen Street in Singapore with its first paper sold at 10 sen a piece.
It moved to Cecil Street in Singapore in 1945 before setting up shop off Jalan Chan Sow Lin, Kuala Lumpur in 1958.