KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — MCA denied today that it was selling off its shares in The Star, insisting that the party’s stand is to increase its stake in the popular English-language daily instead.
In making the denial, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek pointed out that MCA’s stake in The Star had went up from 41 per cent to 42.4 per cent in the last three years.
“We deny strongly that MCA is secretly selling our Star shares, it’s not true.
“Whoever continues to spin on this, we are prepared to sue them,” the former health minister told reporters after an MCA presidential council meeting.
When asked about talks that there could be a management buyout of the MCA-controlled paper, Dr Chua said the party has no knowledge of the matter.
“We have never received such information, I know there’s some talk about it but MCA is not selling Star shares, we are accumulating Star shares,” he said.
He also said the shares of The Star is publicly listed and could be bought by anyone with the funds to do so.
In the same media conference, Dr Chua also said that it was "not easy to sell" MCA's shares in The Star, pointing out that the disposal of the party's stake in The Star would have to be approved by two-thirds of MCA's leadership committee.
"Star shares are all registered in MCA's name and not the president's.
"Two years ago, we transferred all Star shares to MCA and any sale of Star shares, any transaction of Star shares, needs two-third approval of Central Committee members," he said.
In mid-May, Star Publications (M) Bhd denied speculations that there would be a buyout of MCA's shares in The Star by the paper's management or staff.
MCA is the majority shareholder in the publication.
Star Publications chairman Tan Sri Dr Fong Chan Onn had then reportedly said that he regarded the rumours as “as malicious and speculative in nature".
“It also appears to be politically motivated as it comes at a time when the MCA is undergoing a difficult period," he said, adding that such rumours were not helpful.
“I do not intend to elaborate on such rumours as such baseless talk does not deserve to be given credence,” he had then said in a statement.