KUALA LUMPUR: Umno has denied claims that it has washed its hands of Utusan Malaysia, the country's oldest Malay newspaper.
Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa said that the party still feels duty-bound to assist the newspaper group in any way it can despite selling off a substantial share in Utusan.
“I fully support what Datuk Seri Najib Razak said, that if the government could be so kind and unfreeze our account, we would be in a better position to assist Utusan.
“Our cash and also our accounts have been frozen for more than a year, putting Umno in a tight financial position.
“If our account is unfrozen tomorrow, we have more than RM200mil that we can help with the welfare of the staff, ” he told a press conference on Tuesday (Aug 20).
Annuar said that Umno no longer has a say in Utusan's editorial and day-to day operations after selling off its majority bloc of shares.
He however added that the daily faced business problems and not political ones that need to be looked into, adding that Umno has been assisting Utusan by continuously engaging with the management despite selling off a big chunk of its shares.
“We call them to brief us on what their problems are and we are trying to understand the degree of the problem, but we can't directly interfere because we are not the majority shareholders.
“So our commitment to help is very clear but at the same time, we want people to understand that we are in a very difficult financial position because our account has been frozen and cash has been taken away – that is the reality of it, ” he said.
All publications under the Utusan Group – Utusan Malaysia, Mingguan Malaysia, Kosmo!, and Kosmo! Ahad – will cease publication on Wednesday (Aug 21) following a sustained period of financial uncertainty.