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Death of a newspaper – What stopping print meant to the Malay Mail

It traversed the turns of two centuries. It reported on the sinking of the Titanic, witnessed the Spanish Flu pandemic, survived two world wars and the Great Depression, saw the rise and fall of the Communist Bloc, and entered into the digital revolution of the 21st century.

The Malay Mail (MM) was the first local English daily published during the colonial Federated Malay States. On December 14, 1896, it was published as a free lunchtime paper with 100,000 copies circulated around the Klang Valley.

After 122 years, it became the first English newspaper that ceased print publication. After December 1, 2018, it exists solely as an online news portal.

MM was a newspaper under Malaysia’s largest media house New Straits Times Press (NSTP) Berhad alongside New Straits Times, Berita Harian, and Harian Metro.

It had its heyday from the 1970s to 1990s, finding its niche as an English afternoon tabloid distributed in the Klang Valley.

With the tagline: The Paper That Cares, it carried local community news as well as exclusives that made many headlines. It had a strong presence in classified ads, as well as in delivering the latest sports and international news.

By 1997, the Malay Mail was the NSTP’s single most profitable unit through its grip on classifieds.

But following the Asian financial crisis and the emergence of a formidable new kid on the block The Star that offered great incentives to advertisers, The Star soon overtook MM's leading position in classified advertisements.

Since the advent of the 21st century, MM has undergone several revamps and relaunches under various editors and ownerships.

Like all newspapers, it had an online version since 2013 that quickly superseded the poorly performing print paper.

But while the current owner – Malay Mail Sdn Bhd under Ancom Bhd, was responsible for the stop print decision three years ago, the turning point that led to the final demise of MM could be traced back to 15 years ago.

Glorious days of 'The Paper That Cares'

MM enjoyed its glorious days as the voice of the community. The paper was fondly...

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