Sources: Media Prima set to slash more jobs

Azril Annuar
On November 1, Media Prima Bhd announced a transformation and restructuring exercise that would last until the first quarter of 2020. — Picture courtesy of Google Maps

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 ― Media Prima Bhd is expected to formally notify employees of fresh redundancies on Monday, according to sources within the group.

One person told Malay Mail that department heads at the conglomerate began notifying staff earlier this week of the impending move, causing concern and speculation over the extent of the exercise.

On November 1, the firm announced a transformation and restructuring exercise that would last until the first quarter of 2020.

“This time around it will be a retrenchment exercise. They’ve already done voluntary separation scheme (VSS) twice before this and it won’t be a VSS anymore,” said the source who requested anonymity.

“This Monday we will find out who will leave and who will stay.”

Rumours within the industry suggest that the firm is looking to shed as many as 1,500 jobs.

Another source said Media Prima was looking to halve the editorial headcount for newspapers in its stable from the 90 or so each at the News Straits Times, Berita Harian and Harian Metro.

However, the heaviest hits are expected to land on the group’s broadcasting arm in Sri Pentas.

Some of the staff in Balai Berita are still fighting tooth and nail for their jobs and refusing to back down.

One source argued that it was unfair to go after journalists and other employees when it was the senior management that cost the group the most in terms of salaries.

“Ninety-seven in the Media Prima Berhad management have salaries above RM15,000 a month. Seven in NSTP alone have a total salary of RM300,000 a month. That is RM3.6 million a year.

“Which would you cut? Seven working staff at RM7,000 a month, which is RM588,000 a year or RM3.6 million for seven people?” one source said angrily.

Malay Mail has attempted to contact Media Prima for its response.

The possible job cuts are the latest to hit the local news industry.

Earlier this year, Malaysia’s oldest Bahasa Melayu newspaper, Utusan Malaysia, was forced to shut down due to insolvency and left hundreds jobless overnight.

It struggled to pay staff salaries in the final months of its career and still owes back pay to many. Even those who opted for an earlier VSS have not been fully compensated.

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