MCA's takeover of Nanyang Siang Pao and China Press will place the  two Chinese newspapers not only under the control and influence of MCA but UMNO and UMNO proxies as well

Media Conference Statement 2
by Lim Kit Siang

(Miri, Monday): The proposed MCA takeover of Nanyang Press Holdings Bhd, which owns two Chinese national newspapers Nanyang Siang Pao and China Press, threatens a very fragile press situation in the country, making it even more difficult for Malaysia to work for the restoration of a free, independent and responsible press.

What Malaysians must work for is the dilution or reduction of political party ownership of the mass media and not to allow any further concentration, which will take place if MCA is allowed to take over the Nanyang Press Holdings Bhd, as it is inconceivable that the MCA would sign any Press Charter to guarantee respect for  the professionalism, independence and integrity of the working journalists of the two Chinese newspapers and no political interference with their editorial or news contents.

The recent media episode over the controversy of SPM high-achievers who could not be admitted to universities is a case in point why political party ownership of mass media would undermine the professionalism, independence and integrity of the media.

The UMNO-owned Berita Harian launched an attack against the Star, MCA and Gerakan for  being communalistic in their approach to the subject, and it is most astonishing that none of  the trio dared to reply or rebut the Berita Harian onslaughts.

If MCA-owned Star and MCA itself could be the subject of criticism and attack by UMNO-owned Berita Harian, with neither one of them daring to defend itself, one can envisage that Nanyang Siang Pao and China after MCA takeover would be under the control and influence not only of MCA but  also UMNO or UMNO proxies like Berita Harian.

MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik should stop his pretences that the takeover of the Nanyang Press Holdings is left at arm's length as  a business deal to Star Publications, but make public the full details of the negotiations in accordance with the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance and assure Malaysians that this is not another major blow to a free, independent and responsible press in Malaysia.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman