Sunday, December 9, 2018

Melayu causer newspapers in Malaysia to go bust?

By Mansor bin Puteh

It has become this critical and yet no one has noticed and realized how the Melayu have caused the major newspapers in Bahasa Melayu and also in the English language to become redundant and useless.

Rejection of the Melayu by these newspapers has now caused them to suffer not only in sales but in influence and credibility.

Worse, it subjected the newspapers to mockery as news as is created openly are published in different lights by the media unabashedly.

And what is news to the public the majority of which are Melayu and Muslim is not news to the editorial staff, who have a different notion of news altogether all guided by their own insecurities and personal interests. 

The alternative offered by the internet and mostly Facebook has given the fatal blow to the print media as well as the electronic media, where hundreds of staff of newspapers and electronic media organizations have been retrenched and given the VSS option, simply because they all had in their own way caused the very organizations they had served so long to go bust.

The others may soon follow suit.

And the own senior executives and even independent analysts could never ever give them the truth as to how this had happened and who and what had caused it to happen.

The staff is to be blamed for not doing a good job for the organizations they are serving.

And the other cause is the Melayu Factor which has long been ignored. It is one that no one could admit to being so and how so.

The Melayu newspapers especially had neglected their readers for so long; and the English language ones had done the same by pushing them aside thinking that they did not have purchasing power or who could understand English enough to want to read their newspapers.

The drumming of their campaign by the English language newspapers to downgrade the understanding of English by the Melayu for political expediency and to cause the downgrading of the National Schools or ‘Sekolah Kebangsaan’ which are rightly ‘Sekolah Melayu’, is yet another reason for the newspapers to collapse.

Worse is expected to happen to Utusan Malaysia, the media organization that had served the cause of the Melayu and country more than the others.

Utusan had few years ago embarked on a new undisclosed strategy that allowed them to build the largest editorial office and building on Jalan Utusan, off Jalan Chan Sow Lin in Sungai Besi which would now hitherto become almost deserted.

Its former headquarters on Jalan Lima, just across the street from their new building is a sad reflection of its former self, deserted and lonely.

This was where I would report for duty as a reporter with Utusan Melayu, in the late 1970s, walking a kilometer from the bus station at Jalan Chan Sow Lin.

And lately I would return to Utusan for gatherings and other functions and feeling happy to see the new building rise across it thinking that the old block would be turned into some sort of a museum of Malaysian journalism. But this was not to be.

It is also too bad the some former Utusan staff, who were long-time staff had turned around and blamed and even cursed and chided the newspaper for its ails and worse, for being the propaganda for the government then, which is Umno and Barisan Nasional like they did not know which is the party and which is the government anymore.

And the situation with Media Prima is bleak and whose future as the leading electronic media organization is not looking good. A few hundred of their staff has been offered the option for VSS to leave the organization so it could be trimmed.

Many more are expected to be offered similar option in the near future.

When will Astro follow suit?

Only time will tell.

What was the problem with these media organizations?

First, they did not have qualified staff to operate their organizations. For a while, it was thought that anyone could be good for them. But not anymore.

And they had learnt their mistake a big way with those who were supposed to have caused the organization to prosper over time but who didn’t and they are some of the ones who now have to leave them.

The fact that they had served foreign interests more than the national ones is a major cause for their own demise.

Unfortunately, it is now too late for the organizations to be able to do anything to salvage whatever they have left; and fortunately, government media agencies such as RTM and Finas have so far been spared similar trauma because they are funded and fully supported by the government.

But this cannot ensure their continued existence in the same form and shape and they too would have to be answerable to the taxpayers and if the relevant ministries and ministers are to take punitive actions to restructure them, then surely, many in them, too would have to walk out of the doors to leave the two organizations to better and more qualified staff or experts to manage so that they too like the other government linked companies (GLC) and private enterprises can start to become competitive and income generating agencies.

RTM has been around more than seventy years while Finas, just thirty-seven years and none of these organizations has managed to be an income generating agency and better still independent of government interference and become independent entities that are not under any ministry.

They ought to take a good look at Hollywood and CNN and the many other international media organizations which never received any government funding yet they are able to be what they are, including Broadway which serves New York City and America and the West as a whole that creates employment to hundreds or thousands or million.

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