Give more ads to Utusan, says Najib

Najib waving to Utusan Melayu staff during a tour of its new building while Hashim cheers him on (right). 

(The Star) – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak hopes that government agencies, government-linked companies and private bumiputra-owned companies would give more advertisement opportunities to Utusan Melayu.

“Utusan cannot depend on its circulation alone to generate revenue,” Najib said when opening the Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd’s new headquarters made up of three seven-storey office blocks along Jalan Enam, Chan Sow Lin here.

Najib said the occasion was meaningful not only to the Malay-language newspaper group but to the Malay cause as a whole.

“I have long wanted for Utusan Melayu to have not just a headquarters but one with a building that can be considered a symbol of the success of the Malays and the country,” he said.

He said the paper, in which Umno holds a majority stake, would have to adapt while keeping to the principles it was founded with.

Utusan Melayu executive chairman Tan Sri Hashim Makaruddin said the amount of advertising spending by GLCs for Malay dailies was still relatively small compared to that of non-Malay papers.

He said Utusan Melayu was under attack by certain parties, including a small group of Malays who he said did not value the paper’s struggle.

Hashim added that the new building would make the area synonymous with Utusan Melayu, and suggested that Jalan Enam be renamed as Jalan Utusan.

Najib agreed with the suggestion, to loud cheers from those gathered.

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.

Earlier at the launch of the Walk4Malaysia programme in Putrajaya, Najib advised Malaysians to make walking a daily routine to improve their fitness.

As such, he hoped the programme, which covers a distance of 600km from Kuala Besut in Terengganu to Putrajaya, would spark interest among the people to embrace walking as an activity.

Najib’s speech was read out by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

The programme involves 40 participants who will depart from Dataran Kuala Besut on Sept 22.

They will walk from 8am to 5pm daily and stop at 13 pre-determined locations. They are expected to reach Putrajaya on Oct 4.