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Yong Poh Kon to be Star boss?

Sat 2010-Apr-17 @ +08 16:58:49 pm

Pewter king tipped
as StarPub chairman

The pewter king Yong Poh Kon, head of Royal Selangor International and a well-respected captain of industry, is tipped to be the new boss of Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad, publisher of The Star.

His appointment is said to be one of two crucial changes at the media house to be made by newly-elected MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek.

Speculation about the two appointments came in an article by former MCA research head Stanley Koh, writing in Free Malaysia Today.

In his piece Will Chua’s ‘humble ant’ polls manifesto see light?’ Stanley said “a changing of guards under Chua Soi Lek is imminent” and that new appointees were expected to take charge at the various holding companies and education-related bodies owned by the party’s investment arm Huaren Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Stanley made a veiled but pointed reference to Clement Hii, the current deputy executive chairman who was appointed by the previous MCA president Ong Tee Keat, in making the case for Yong Poh Kon’s appointment.

Stanley said:

Ong’s tenure also saw a perceived unpopular move of appointing an executive into the company board of directors purportedly for the purpose of shoring up support for a certain party leader.

This is in line with media industry perception on the manner in which Clement was appointed.

Stanley said Chua Soi Lek was being urged to live up to his “humble ant” philosophy that he used as his manifesto in campaigning for the MCA presidency.

In it, Chua had espoused the need for professional management of the party’s key assets, particularly the Star, the importance of media professionalism and of not allowing the company and the paper to be manipulated or exploited for the individual self-interest of MCA leaders.

Based on these incidents, not many candidates can fit Dr Chua’s criteria of selection. But one factor is certain, the candidate should not be politically active or linked to the party.

Stanley then outlines Yong Poh Kon’s abilities and his position in industry, and holds up Yong’s independence and professionalism.

Yong once opposed the attempt by the MCA leadership in the late 80s to sell Star Publications to the Kamunting group, and offered a proposal that the newspaper could be restructured instead of selling it.

Although Yong has served as chairman of the MCA’s think-tank INSAP during the tenure of former president, Tan Koon Swan, he did not harbour any political ambitions, having turned down many political offers.

But Dr Chua should know a fact — Yong is a firm believer in meritocracy, setting high standards and quality and he shares a common trait with the president. They both insist on calling “a spade a spade”.

The other appointment to be made is that of Tan Chai Ho, newly-appointed by Chua to be party treasurer-general, who is believed to be chairman of Huaren Holdings, the party’s investment arm, which controls the party’s ownership of The Star.

Stanley said it was not known yet if Tan will be appointed a board director of Star Publications, as was the case with the party’s treasurer-general in Ling Liong Sik’s time.

» Stanley’s article in full Will Chua’s “Humble Ant” polls manifesto see light?

  1. nstman permalink
    Sun 2010-Apr-18 @ +08 15:19:47 pm 15:19

    No disrespect to anyone, you put a monkey or
    baboon in the Star, the paper will still
    sell. No disrespect to the baboons in the New
    Shit Times, you put an Einstein in the NST,
    the paper will still be sold down.
    My good friend, A. Kadir jasin, the self-styled
    saviour of journalism and ex-NST dictator,
    used to say that come hell or high water,
    the NST would still sell. Well, it’s water
    under the bridge now. And the NST is
    still trying to keep its head above
    water. By the way, while the NST is
    still struggling to defend its dwindling
    circulation, CEO Anthony Bujang is painting
    a rosy picture of his paper. This guy should
    be rewarded for talking drivel. Doesnt
    he realise trash talk can never
    help his beleaguered paper. Unlike Ahmad Talib,
    Anthony does not carry the baggage of the
    excess of Kadir’s reign of terror. he can start
    anew by being more original. Instead,
    he is beating the same old drum.

  2. dahi ketiak permalink
    Mon 2010-Apr-19 @ +08 12:13:11 pm 12:13

    Star is selling well simply because there is no where else for readers and advertisers to go to, not because it upholds the fundamentals of a free press and the interest of the public.
    Limiting the number of publications has been an enriching exercise, as the Money Controls All (MCA) party will tell you. You not only control what the people get to read but you get very, very rich in the process. Chun tak Chun, Poh Tip, Charlie and company are all kaya raya, but pity press freedom.
    The only way is to hit it where it hurts most. I no longer buy newspapers. The power of one…and of the many.

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