A former Utusan Malaysia editor-in-chief has lauded the Education Ministry’s move to cancel its subscription to the Umno-owned newspaper.
Zainuddin Maidin, who led the newspaper in the late 1990s, took to Twitter to voice his support for the move today.
“It is proper for the Education Minister to instruct all schools, universities, colleges and education institutions under him to stop subscribing to Utusan Malaysia because it is not the voice of the rakyat but an official mouthpiece for the racist Umno,” he said.
Sudah sewajarnya Menteri Pendidikan mengarahkan supaya semua sekolah,unversiti,kolej dan institusi pelajaran dibawahnya berhenti langgan Utusan Malaysia kerana ia bukan suara rakyat tapi lidah rasmi Umno yg bersifat perkauman.— Zainudin Maidin (@ZainudinMaidin) August 1, 2018
The former Umno information minister tweeted again to say that under his helm, Utusan had not censored the opposition despite maintaining its support for its major shareholder Umno.
“The opposition’s voice was not censored completely to the point the people hated us, even though boycotts were organised against us. Its circulation also increased,” Zainuddin said of the loss-making daily.
Era saya, Tan Sri Johan dan Khalid Mohd Umno juga pemegang terbesar Saham Utusan, sokong kerajaan dan UMNO tapi suara pembangkang tidak dibenamkan terus sehingga dibenci orang maka itu sekalipun dianjurkan pemulauannya tetapi edarannya terus meningkat.— Zainudin Maidin (@ZainudinMaidin) August 1, 2018
Meanwhile, former Utusan senior editor Ku Seman Ku Hussain, in a Facebook post, called the subscription cancellation move "unfair."
"This not only goes against the government's policy towards differing ideologies and opinions, but is also indifferent to an opposition newspaper.
"As the government, they can definitely 'kill' Umno-owned Utusan, but they should be more 'humane'," he wrote, adding that the Pakatan Harapan administration should prove that it is not driven by vengeance.
"If Utusan has made a mistake, take action against them based on a case, instead of beating blindly.
"Outside the political sphere, we can deny Utusan's contribution to the rakyat. I urge attention to this before things get worse."
In a memo dated July 18, Education Minister Maszlee Malik was quoted as instructing all subscriptions to Utusan by the ministry to be halted immediately.
A ministry official later told Malaysiakini that the ministry was also considering cancelling its subscription to other newspapers as a cost-cutting measure.
However, Maszlee has said he was unaware of the memo itself and would check with his special adviser Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who had issued the document.
He also refused to comment when asked whether other newspapers will meet the same fate as Utusan.