If the MCA takeover of Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press is a pure business deal, the proper first thing the new owner would have done would be to give an assurance to the staff of the two newspapers and assure them that not a single executive or editorial job would be terminated, so long as they continue to serve the newspapers loyally as in the past - and not to issue marching orders to the top executive and editorial heads of the two national dailies.
The denial by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that the MCA takeover was “politically-motivated”, and his declaration that it was not his business to block the deal and that he was neither supporting nor objecting to it are most regrettable.
Firstly, Mahathir’s public stance on the issue is a “death knell” for the anti-Ling MCA faction led by MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lim Ah Lek.
Secondly, despite his claim that he was neither supporting or objecting to the MCA takeover of the Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press, it is clear the deal would not have gone through without the “blessings” of the Prime Minister.
It is sad that the Prime Minister has not learnt from the lessons of the Chinese reactions to the controversies over the past 18 months, especially on Suqiu, the Vision Schools, Damansara Chinese primary school and the unfair university admissions for SPM and STPM top-scorers and is allowing an even bigger controversy than all these four issues added together to develop.
When Mahathir said that “Nanyang is a newspaper. Anybody can take over”, is he suggesting that he would have no objections if foreign interests acquire ownership and management of the national newspapers in the country?