Liong Sik usurping the powers of the elected MCA leaders and rank-and-file in  rushing through the deal to acquire Nanyang Press Holdings Bhd without proper sanction from the MCA Central Committee and General Assembly

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The massive  special dividend payout by  Nanyang Press Holdings Bhd of 103.27 per cent in a move to return capital to its parent instead of using the money for the future operations of its two Chinese newspapers is a clear signal that the further concentration of political party media ownership with the   MCA takeover of Nanyang Siang Pao and China Press  is as good as signed and sealed.

Hume Industries, which owns 72 per cent of Nanyang Press, will pocket some RM43 million. An official of Hong Leong - the parent of Hume - estimated the total gross dividend payout to be in the region of RM60 million. The payout ratio was 10 times larger than its previous payments to shareholders. And the dividend payout was substantially higher than Nanyang Press's interim profit of less than RM3 million.

The massive  special dividend payout is  also a clear reflection  of the forced sale of the majority stake of  the Nanyang Press Holdings to MCA -  another example of the corporate jungle instead of good corporate governance prevailing  in the Malaysian market, which can only serve to drive away interested investors, local or foreign.

It is most significant that the windfall dividend came one day after the emergency MCA presidential council meeting  gave the “go-ahead” to the party's investment arm, Huaren Holdings Sdn Bhd, to proceed with the takeover of Nanyang Press Holdings Bhd by a vote of 12 in favour with three abstentions, namely  MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lim Ah Lek, MCA Vice President and Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Chan Kong Choy and Central Committee member and MP for Mentakab Fu Ah Kiow.
It is highly  improper, irregular and undemocratic for MCA’s highly controversial acquisition of two Chinese national dailies to  be approved by  the MCA Presidential Council without  the sanction of the MCA Central Committee, especially in view of the  overwhelming objections and criticisms of the Chinese community to the MCA takeover.

According to the MCA website, the MCA Presidential Council  “takes charge of the Party's administrative matters” while policy issues are directly within the jurisdiction of the MCA Central Committee.

Liong Sik is clearly usurping  the powers of the elected  MCA Central Committee leaders, and in the process the MCA General Assembly which elected the Central Committee, in rushing to conclude the takeover of the two Chinese newspapers without giving the MCA Central Committee an opportunity to consider the overwhelming objections and criticisms of the Chinese community on the issue, and even to consider whether the issue should be referred to the MCA General Assembly for final decision.

The argument that Liong Sik must sign and seal the acquisition deal before objections from the Chinese community and even from the Malaysian population snowball to become an insuperable obstacle is no justification for the usurpation of the powers of the MCA Central Committee by the MCA President  and to close the deal without proper sanction from the MCA Central Committee or  even the MCA General Assembly.

Liong Sik would be killing many birds with one stone - silencing his critics in the MCA, the Chinese media and in the political arena - and in the process consolidating his position in the MCA.

MCA Central Committee members and delegates to the MCA General Assembly should requisition emergency meetings to demand proper study and consideration of the  MCA acquisition of Nanyang Siang Pao and China Press before the deal is finally signed and sealed.

The MCA Central Committee members and General Assembly delegates should not allow Liong Sik to put his personal and factional interests above that of the party, the Chinese community and the national interests to have a free, independent and responsible press.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman