Najib Says NST is No Longer UMNO’s Mouthpiece After the Party Let go 11% Stake

Shaking up the Malaysian media industry and the share market yesterday (Jul 3) was the news of opposition party UMNO relinquishing 11.09% of its stake in Media Prima.

Former UMNO president Datuk Sri Najib Razak said it was necessary for his party to let go of the share because local daily News Strait Times is no longer friendly to the party, The Star reported.

Source: The Star

“Anyways, Media Prima is not within the effective control of Umno. So if we have minority shares, it is no longer meaningful because NST is not really friendly to us anymore,” Najib told reporters outside of the Parliament today (Jul 4).

Media Prima is Malaysia’s largest media group that owns NST, Berita Harian, Harian Metro, free-to-air television channels TV3, NTV7, 8TV and TV9, as well as radio stations Fly FM, Hot FM, One FM and Kool FM.

Source: NST

The group’s digital wing also owns Rev Asia, a company that runs popular portals such as, Oh Bulan, Viral Charm and many more.

Najib said Media Prima was no longer “an effective tool” for his party, FMT quoted him as saying.

Source: Utusan

It was reported yesterday that the 11% share was sold to DRB-HICOM Bhd, a company largely owned by tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.

Syed Mokhtar already owns equity interest in Utusan Melayu Bhd and The Malaysian Reserve.

Source: The Edge

However, DRB-HICOM clarified today that they did not make the purchase.

“DRB-HICOM Bhd refers to a media report stating that it has acquired an 11% stake in listed media company Media Prima Bhd (MPB), and may acquire another 8% of MPB that belongs to United Malay National Organisation or UMNO. We wish to categorically deny the statements in the said report,” it said, as reported by The Edge.

The Malaysian Reserve reported that the share was purchased by Aurora Mulia Sdn Bhd, which one of the directors of the company is Syed Mokhtar’s son — Syed Danial Syed Mokhtar Shah.

As of now, UMNO still owns a 7.96% stake in Media Prima through Altima Inc. The single largest shareholder of the media group is Mitsubishi UFJ, holding 12.84% or 42.29 million shares.

Malaysia’s private sector retirement fund, Employees Provident Fund, is the second largest shareholder with an 11.92% stake.

Source: NST

The Edge reported that Media Prima suffered a net loss of RM40.41 million in the first three months of the year.

Citing to declining advertising expenditure and newspaper sales, the group’s quarterly revenue declined 14.81% to RM239.1 million from RM280.67 million.

Despite that, in January 2019, NST reported that Media Prima attained a higher page view than Google and Facebook with 13.60 million total unique visitors between December 2017 and December 2018.

The two tech-giants company acquired 12.95 million and 12.92 million from Malaysians respectively within the same period. The data was collected by US-based measurement and analytics company Comscore.

What are your thoughts on UMNO’s partial departure from Media Prima? Let us know in the comments below.

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