Yesterday, I had a chance to talk to a former Utusan’s colleague of the news on the impending relaunch of Utusan Malaysia to the market. She was among that unfortunate soul that was promised the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) package but was mysteriously denied the right until now. Why it happened is still beyond me, and the culprit seems to walk free doing their daily lives without feeling any guilt to those poor souls.
We spoke at a great length on why Utusan’s can succumb to a level that it has to be wounded up. Along the way, some of the decisions being made by the management were taken without any regards whatsoever to the social wellbeing of the staff. It is saddened to see some are having a tough time to continue supporting the family, as the promised severance package was never seen. The COVID-19 pandemic has even made it difficult for them as most of the economic activities have halted.
This is very unsettling especially in light of the announcement that the newspaper will be published again. I am for one, being an alumnus of the company is happy that the brand will live on again to see the light, I am a bit cautioned to give my moral support to the relaunch. And I find it amusing that some of the people that were roped into the new company have the cheek to us for some support, thus making it easy for the new company to revive itself.
After all, what is it in for the staff to be treated as such, and yet were ask to support the revival of the newspaper? The decision to transfer the ownership of the newspaper license to Medan Mulia was purely a business decision to ensure the brand can stay afloat after some hiatus. Nonetheless, the way it was handled is a debacle that put many into a punishing predicament. Many were left in the lurch to defend themselves. It is seriously unfair and bordering betrayal in my opinion. Whoever that is reviving the brand, has the moral obligation to ensure the affected staff be rightfully compensated with the agreed severance packages owed to them. Otherwise, they are just as good as those that defraud those unfortunate souls that have poured their blood and sweat to the company that they once called the voice of the Malays.
Some might say those affected were just collateral damage in this whole scheme of political manoeuvre. Regardless of what we want to call it, it still does not make it right and absolves those involved from the wrongdoing. If we truly want to start fresh, do the right thing. Do not simply forget the fate of the people that struggled to make Utusan a household brand, otherwise, one wrong initial step might put back Utusan in a deeper position than before. Remember, those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.