KUALA LUMPUR: The Rakyat Post news portal closed shop today.
The company, owned by Wespacom Sdn Bhd, told its staff of the decision to cease operations at a meeting with several representatives of its 60 employees at Menara MBSB here on Monday.
It told its employees that they would have to lodge a complaint with the Labour Department or seek industrial action in order to get their two months’ unpaid salaries.
Earlier, around 15 employees had showed up to seek guidance from the Labour Department office in Subang Jaya, on the steps required to lodge a formal complaint against the company.
Speaking to reporters, the group's representative Michael Murty said the staff had not received any indication in the past that there was a problem with funding, adding that they were usually paid on the third of every month.
“In December they (the employers) said that there was problem with funding. For January, we got our (December) salaries, one or two days later than usual. They said that there was trouble in finding funding, but they managed to do it,” he said.
Murty claimed that the company had missed the date stipulated by law to pay their salaries, which is on the seventh of each month, and eventually asked the staff to go on paid leave.
He added that last Wednesday, staff members were told by the company to give them one last week to either find the money, or they would temporarily shut down the portal.
“(There is) No real reason why there is no funding,” said Murty.
“We will definitely file a complaint with the labour office and individually, we might file other complaints but that will come later,” he said.
An employee said the move had affected his ability to make ends meet, adding that he had resorted to taking up various side jobs such as becoming an Uber driver.
Another employee said most reporters had been working from home since the middle of January, and had not been on any assignments since the start of the month.
The portal’s English desk staff had been asked to go on paid leave on Feb 11, while the Mandarin desk, four days later.
The news portal's management announced on its Facebook page after a meeting with the staff, saying "over the coming months, we will be undergoing restructuring and looking at solving our funding issues."
“Once again, from everyone on the editorial team of The Rakyat Post, we thank you for having stayed with us,” the Facebook post said.
The Rakyat Post began operations in October 2013.