19th century

19th century, : Pre world war 2 period
An English-language newspaper, “News Straits Times” is the first newspaper started in 1806 in Penang, published for the workers of the East India Company. In those times, they were based in Malaysia. That is the oldest newspaper which was under observation of the government. It was previously under the publication Prince of Wales Island Gazette (PWIG) which is currently under the control of  New Strait Times Press (M) Berhad.
The PWIG published commercial newspaper which began its publication on March 1, 1806 in Penang. The targeted readers were not the local communities but at the colonialists and expatriates owned by A.B. Bone — which is an Indian entrepreneur. He made a request, stating that PIWG publication must undergo censorship by the government. There were still no laws to govern the printing of newspapers in those times. As Bone has requested from the governor of Penang. It is believed that is the beginning of print media in Malaysia.
Throughout this era, there were no local language newspapers because no formalized language. PWIG’s final edition was being published on 21 July, 1827 after operating for 21 years.

It was stated that the first edition of ” The New Straits Time” contained advertisements which consist of shipping and medical products.

In Sarawak, the publication of the “Sarawak Gazette” in 1870 was the first in the state.

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Based on Singai Nesan and opinions (by E.W.Birch and A.Mani), it can be concluded that the first Tamil newspaper in Malaya was “Singai Warthamani”. Published since 1875, it concentrated mostly on social issues in the Indian community. It revealed issues which happened in rubber estates. Meanwhile, the “Singai Nesan”, a weekly newspaper which was published in 1887 aimed to pointt the problems faced by the Tamils in Singapore. However, this paper ceased publication in 1890 due to lack of support from the community. During this period, two other Tamil newspapers, “Tejahbimani” in Perak in the year 1896 and “Pinanggu Warthamani” in Penang in the year 1897 had been published.

As the demand of newspaper increased, the first Malay language newspaper, “Jawi Peranakan” , started published in 1876.
The reasons of the lack of newspapers during this period is due to the poor economy. Since then,  it was uneconomical for profit-based publisher to start publishing in Malay language.
Besides, in those times , formal education was still unofficial for the locals, which meant that literate people were limited and therefore the demand for newspapers is low.,
“Lat Pau”, the first Chinese language newspaper was published in 1881. It became the top Chinese newspaper in Malaysia.
In Kuala Lumpur, the afternoon Malay Mail began the circulation in 1896. It emphasized on soft news. The circulation was around 75,000.

The 20th century
“Utusan Melayu” (1907-21), and “Lembaga Melayu” (1914-31) helped to provide knowledge in the Malay community by highlighting issues of the development of the Malay community.
The first Malay newspaper, “Fajar Sarawak”, was published in 1930. Chinese language newspapers “Shen Won Kie Min Sing Pao”, and “Xi Min Ri Bao” were published in 1913 and 1927 respectively.

“Singai Warthamani”, the first Tamil newspaper had witnessed the rise of “The Straits Times” and “The Malay Mail”. The newspapers had gained popularity before the Japanese occupation.
“The Warta Malaya” also called as “The Malaya Times” was published by Warta Malaya Press Ltd. The newspaper was in Jawi script, mainly to let the Malays awared of the latest local and foreign news. This included social and religious news. It was claimed that “The Warta Malaya” was the first Malay newspaper to subscribe to world news agencies.
20th century : During world war 2
During the Japanese occupation from 1941 to 1945, propaganda was widely spread through the medium of newspaper to influence the people’s thought. In those times, the Japanese attempted to win the hearts of the Malays.
The two notable newspaper were “Malai Shimbun” and “Syonan Shimbun”. The newspapers last longer than other newspaper compare to others. They served as official propaganda tools for the Japanese during war time. The newspaper in Malaya had changed to mainly political ideas to support the ruling of Japan instead of domestic and international events or economical news.

20th Century : After the surrender of Japanese
In 1945, a lot of the newspapers that were banned during the Japanese Occupation, such as the “Utusan Melayu”, “The Straits Times” and the “Malay Mail” continue to publish after the surrender of the Imperial Japan.
Around this time, “Suara Rakyat” came to light. This happened at a time when Malay nationalism was increasing. When the British proposed for Malayan Union, which is threatening the status quo of the Malays, it was strongly objected by Malays. They pointed out their disagreements in “Utusan Melayu”, “Majlis” and “Warta Negara”. The Malay newspapers was the main key in raising Malay’s awareness and delivering messages regarding the inequality issue of the Malayan Union. At that time, newspaper act as a unity tool.

The Printing Presses Act required all newspapers to acquire annual publishing licence. The British colonial government introduced the act to prevent communist activities in 1948.
The newspapers started to be influenced by political parties. One of the most significant events was after independence, when Utusan Melayu was owned company of United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

After World War 2, the Malay language newspapers aimed to produce a new Malay culture and identity. “Berita Harian” founded in 1957 in Kuala Lumpur had successfully achieved a circulation of 350,000. The  “Metro Ahad”, had a circulation of 132,195 while “The Watan” had 80,000, which were rather successful.

The Act was revised in 1971, after the racial threats and violence of 1969. The act had evolved to Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA). The change was to ensure that racial sensitivities issues would never be instigated. The newspapers licenses may be abrogated from the publisher if the contents were seen to cause national sensitivities or being an obstacle to the nation’s development.


Moreover,  “The Business Times” was founded in Kuala Lumpur in 1976, by separating the shipping and financial sections in the  “New Straits Times” had hit a circulation of 15,000, surpassed ” The New Straits Times”, a newspaper that was 139 years old.  It became the premier newspaper in Penang in 1976.

The paper pulp prices have remained stable in the 1980s in Malaysia. It cost US$445 per ton in the late 1980s.
In 1984, PPPA was revised once again. Under the Act, the presses which have received licence was require to renew annually. The law was to ensure all printings abided the law. It was also to prevent the spread of disinformation. In 23 June 1995, “The Star” was the first Malaysian newspaper to be launched on the World Wide Web.
Before 1990s, Malaysia had purchased most of the newsprint from Canada. Theen Seng Paper Manufacturing Sbn. Bhd. had been the first manufacturer to start recycling newsprint in Malaysia. It started the operation in Selangor Darul Ehsan. The average circulation of newspapers in 1996 : It was 3.3 million.
The Malay language newspapers with e-sites are ” Dinmani” and  “Utusan Malaysia”. Meanwhile, for the Malaysian Chinese newspapers, there are  “Nanyang Siang Pau” and “Kwong Wah Yit Poh” for internet viewing.

An amendment made to the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) in the Dewan Rakyat, fulfilling the promises of reforming Malaysia’s  internet laws by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s. The newspaper has largely devoted in online e-newspaper. Readers can easily subscribe to the e-newspaper in anytime, anywhere.
The average daily price per copy for a newspaper in Malaysia. has increased from RM 0.17 in 1980 to RM0.40 in 2002.

The newspaper circulation continued to drop in 2016. With the “New Straits Times, Malay Daily” and “Utusan Malaysia” suffering ongoing losses. “The Star” newspaper has remained the highest circulation with  an average of daily paid circulation 359,442.

Newspaper Circulation
2012 2016
Harian Metro 379,169 copies 142,262 copies
The New Straits Times 93,321 copies 54,490 copies

Based on Audit Bureau of Circulations Malaysia
Newspaper Percentage dropped compare to 2012
Harian Metro 62.5%
The New Straits Times 41.6%
Utusan Malaysia 30%
Berita Harian 30%
The Star 32%

Newspaper’s Age Profile Of Readers in 2016

Data source: http://brandinsights.com.my/bucking-the-newspaper-readership-decline/

Top 5 Readership in 2016
Harian Metro 4,568,000
Berita Harian 1,491,000
SIn Chew Daily 1,390,000
The Star 1,185,000
Kosmo 1,170,000

Data’s source : publisher’s data (non audited)
Top 5 cost (FPBW)
Malay Mail RM43,460
Merdeka Daily News RN27,000
Malaysian Reserve RM23,088
The Edge Financial Daily RM22,525
Morning Post RM19,800

Data’s source : http://adqrate.com/newspaper/details?id=34&type=1

Although there is a major declining in the newspaper industry, the newspapers publication still manage to publish 28 titles of newspapers. (Utusan Malaysia, Malaysiakini, The Star, News Straits Time, Sin chew Daily, Nanyang Siang Pau, Harian Metro, The Edge, Berita Harian, Malay Mail, Kosmo!, See Hua Daily News, Makkal Osai, Sinar Harian, The Sun, Harakah, Daily Express, China Press, Kwong Wah Yit Poh, New Sarawak Tribune, New Sabah Times, The Borneo Post, Guang Ming Daily, Lat Pau, Tamil Nesan, Malaysia Nanban, Oriental Daily News, Overseas China Daily News).

Why online newspaper gain popularity?
Malaysia’s increasing internet usage is the main reason of the online news portal becoming the choice of the public to obtain news.
Three factors are central to this development: the declining credibility of the mainstream media, the spread of a purportedly `free’ and `independent’ digital media environment, and the more-immediate access to news sources.

Challenges of print newspapers
?Newspaper audience uses multiple devices to access news and younger adults prefer Internet to print for news.
Problem solving:
Newspaper publishers respond to this challenge by diversifying their publications online.

Differences between online newspaper and print newspaper
online newspaper printed newspaper
Preferred by younger generation Preferred by Older generation
Need to access by using mobile devices
Require data/wifi Can be carried everywhere
Unlimited space Limited space
Hyperlink to prove Verified source (stricter)
Immediate response No immediate response

Newspaper facts
Newspaper Advertisement sites are available in full page, quarter page, half page horizontal,half page vertical, double page spread etc.

Daily Edition Total Circulation in whole Malaysia. (according to the state) 2015