Hata, a senior journalist, will face an inquiry panel on Thursday over public statements condemning Utusan's editorial policy which he blamed for the daily's falling circulation.
“Utusan should respect the right of NUJ officials to make public statements which relate to the interests of union members," said general-secretary Anbalagan in a statement today.
“Hata (right) had made his remarks as a union official, and Utusan is free to make a public rebuttal if it does not agree with NUJ's statements.”
If disciplinary action is taken against Hata, he would be the third Utusan union official to be sacked since former NUJ president Yazid Othman and NUJ Utusan chapter chairperson Amran Ahmad.
It is understood that the NUJ executive committee will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss the development.
Hata was elected NUJ president last September and has consistently urged Utusan to change its editorial policies and stop stirring up communal sentiments.
In his New Year's day statement, Hata singled out Utusan and said that some its editors and journalists have “no dignity” and bow to pressure from political masters.
Hata also raised eyebrows when he condemned Umno for barring journalists from several online news organisations from its media centre during the party's annual general assembly.
He had also urged Utusan's critics to direct their criticism against individual editors and journalists rather than the organisation as a whole.
Hata argued that those not involved in the decision-making process should not be blamed for the actions of editors.