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AWSJ: MCA Votes In Favor of Takeover of Newspapers
By Cris Prystay
25/6/2001 10:01 pm Mon
[MCA mungkin nampak untung dengan membeli Nanyang tetapi
majoriti masyarakat Cina akan rugi. Rugi kerana isu yang menindas
mereka tidak akan muncul lagi. Dan yang menyedihkan pemimpin dan
parti bangsa mereka sendiri merestui tindakkan seumpama ini.
Ling bolehlah ketawa dengan kemenangan undi 53% lawan 46% dalam
EGM itu tetapi tunggu dulu. Bagaimana jika 46% pembaca Nanyang
tidak membeli akhbar itu lagi?????? Bukankah Ling telah menggali
kubur buat MCA dan Nanyang sendiri?
Malaysian Chinese Association Votes
In Favor of Takeover of Newspapers
By CRIS PRYSTAY
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- An ethnic Chinese party in Malaysia's
government voted narrowly in favor of the controversial takeover of
two newspapers that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad described last
week as "instruments of the opposition."
The Malaysian Chinese Association, part of the ruling coalition,
bought 72.3% of Nanyang Press Holdings from a unit of Hong Leong Group
on May 30, sparking an outcry from hundreds of ethnic-Chinese
organizations in Malaysia who fear a loss of press freedom. Nanyang
Press publishes Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press, two dailies with a
combined circulation of 390,000. The takeover also pitched MCA
President Ling Liong Sik, who engineered the deal, into a battle with
his deputy president and long-time leadership rival Lim Ah Lek and
Vice President Chua Jia Meng.
In a bid to quell growing dissent Datuk Ling called for an
extraordinary general meeting of the party on Sunday -- the second in
52 years -- and the won approval for the deal by a slim, 53% majority.
The MCA president may have won the day, but the victory raises the
specter of a political backlash from the party's own electorate when
the ruling coalition needs to shore up support from the Chinese
community. The narrow margin of Sunday's vote also highlights the deep
schism within the party itself, and at the same time, strengthens the
hand of Datuk Lim ahead of next year's party elections.
Sunday's vote is "going to polarize the situation even more," says P.
Ramasamy, a political science professor at the National University of
Despite widespread dissent within the Chinese community over the deal,
many observers believed Datuk Ling would win the vote by a solid
majority. But the prime minister himself may have alienated some
delegates by striking out at the two papers in a Saturday speech at
annual general assembly of his United Malays National Organization
party. Dr. Mahathir criticized the two papers for stirring up racial
tensions by covering Chinese lobby groups that have questioned the
government's pro-Malay affirmative action policies.
Malaysia's Chinese-language press, widely regarded as more critical
than the country's mainstream English- and Malay-language media, has
given extensive coverage in recent months to a host of education and
language issues that have deepened discontent within the Chinese
community for Dr. Mahathir's government. Nanyang's papers, in
particular, have been critical of the MCA's stance on these issues,
and have also scrutinized a continuing succession battle between Datuk
Ling and Datuk Lim -- points that may have helped fuel Datuk Ling's
interest in the takeover, political analysts say.
A protest group of 245 ethnic Chinese from nongovernmental
organizations have kept up pressure on the government this month by
threatening to withdraw support in the next general election unless
the deal is dropped. A consortium of Chinese business leaders led the
president of the influential Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce
and Industry also offered to buy the whole stake, provided the MCA
agree to fully divest. Dr. Ling, who said the MCA would consider
selling some or part of its stake, later declined, saying the party
had received a higher offer from an unnamed law firm.