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.