Ling had been openly calling the shots in the MCA takeover of Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press, but when the consortium of private individuals, led by Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia president Tan Sri Lim Guan Teik announced its offer to buy over MCA’s entire stake in Nanyang Press Holdings Bhd at a premium of 10 sen higher than the RM5.50 per share paid by Huaren to Hume, the former owner, the MCA President has suddenly shied away and hidden himself behind the Huaren board of directors!
It was Ling who , when unable to give satisfactory and effective answers to party criticisms that the MCA purchase of Nanyang was not a good business deal to MCA, personally announced on June 7 in Rompin that MCA invited companies, groups and individuals to become strategic partners by taking up shares in Nanyang and adding value to the company which publishes the two Chinese national dailies.
Asking those interested to write in with their proposals within 10 days, Ling declared: “I will look at the proposals and if they are good enough, MCA is even willing to settle for a minority stake in the company”. (The Star 8.6.2001).
Ling did not say at the time that he would leave to the Huaren
directors to evaluate the proposals, but declared he would personally
“look at the proposals”, which is in keeping with the three resolutions
adopted by the MCA Central Committee in a vote of 32-8 on May 30,
From the MCA Central Committee resolutions, Ling had vested on himself all the powers to decide single-handedly on all matters connected with the MCA takeover of Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press - and his sudden pretence of humility that it is the Huaren directors who will make the final evaluation and decision on the offer of the consortium does not sit well on his arrogance and contempt of the wishes of the Chinese community exhibited by him on this matter so far.
In view of the concrete offer made by the consortium led by Lim Guan Teik, Ling should amend the agenda of the MCA Extraordinary General Meeting summoned by him on Sunday to let the 2,500 MCA delegates decide whether to accept the offer of the consortium so that the MCA could totally relinquish its entire stake in Nanyang.
The 2,500 MCA delegates should realise that the controversy over the MCA takeover of Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press had precipitated an unprecedented outrage and opposition from the Chinese community, because it poses a triple catastrophe - firstly, to the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese community and in particular the cause of Chinese education; secondly, to press freedom, human rights and democracy; and thirdly, to the livelihood of over 2,000 workers dependent directly or indirectly on healthy business operations of the two Chinese newspapers.
Reports have already come in of the sharp drop in the sale and circulation of the two Chinese newspapers, in particular Nanyang Siang Pau, throughout the country, in some places as high as 20 per cent and above, because of the strong objection of the readers to the obstinate refusal of Ling to respect the wishes of the Chinese community and insistence to gobble up Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press.
The 2,500 MCA should demonstrate at the MCA EGM on Sunday
that they can subordinate party and factional interests to the higher interests
of the Chinese community and Malaysian press freedom and democracy by taking
a clear stand that MCA relinquish every single share in Nanyang Press Holdings
Bhd by accepting the offer of the consortium led by Lim Guan Teik.
The consortium led by Lim Guan Teik should act as trustees of the Chinese community to ensure press freedom and independence for Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press, whereby in the final arrangement, no single investor whether individual or organisation should have more than 5 to 10% stake in Nanyang Press Holdings Bhd.