MCA Deputy President Datuk Lim Ah Lek had on Thursday publicly revealed the rampant “dirty tactics” used by the Ling faction to ensure that the MCA delegates at the EGM endorse the party’s takeover of Nanyang Press, with numerous MCA delegates promised “promotion” by the Ling faction in return for backing the motion, such as promised the post of deputy minister, while some state assemblymen were promised state exco posts and others were offered senatorship. (Malaysiakini 21.6.1001)
Lim said that some local party leaders were offered to be candidates for the next general elections due in 2004. In addition, some delegates were promised that they would be recommended for datukship if they support the motion.
The former MCA Bukit Mertajam MP Dr. Tan Chong Keng summed up such “dirty tactics” at the MCA EGM yesterday as the “Five Seals” - sealing the eyes, the mouth, the ears, government promotions and state honours and awards.
How many of the MCA delegates were influenced by the “dirty tactics” of the carrot and the stick, threatening reprisals on the one hand while promising candidatures, promotions and datukships on the other?
If 79 MCA delegates had been influenced by these “Five Seals” dirty tactics, this would have accounted for Ling’s ignominous and dishonourable win at the MCA EGM yesterday.
Ling was fortunate in being given a last-minute boost by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad who, in his winding up speech at the 55th UMNO General Assembly, gave full support for the MCA takeover although he said he did not direct MCA to do so.
Ling’s assurance at the MCA EGM yesterday that Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press will continue to enjoy editorial neutrality and management independence while in MCA hands is empty and dishonest, for the MCA-owned Star is the best example that there can be no editorial independence and journalistic professionalism in a newspaper owned by MCA - as the MCA political agenda must be the overriding principle which is why the DAP for instance has been virtually blacked out in the newspaper.
Mahathir had asked why if UMNO could own Utusan, MCA cannot own Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press. The answer is very simple - two wrongs do not make a right! UMNO should not own Utusan and should relinquish its ownership in the newspaper group so as to restore press freedom in the country.
It is a tragedy not only for the Chinese community but also for Malaysian
human rights and democracy if there is a further concentration of political
ownership of the mass media with Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press falling
into the hands of MCA.
Liong Sik’s ignominous victory at MCA EGM with his “Five Seals” dirty tactics cannot stop the nation-wide popular movement to force MCA to relinquish all control of Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press for the sake of the legitimate rights of the Chinese community, Chinese education, press freedom and democracy in Malaysia.
The only way to ensure that Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press do not degenerate into a Chinese version of The Star or Utusan Malaysia is that MCA should completely relinquish ownership of the two newspapers and return them to the Chinese community to exercise trusteeship for a free, independent and responsible press.