KUALA LUMPUR — Nov. 9, 2018: Former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin has denied a suggestion that he was keen to make a move on Media Prima.
His denial was made yesterday when asked by journalists after a conference, reported The Edge Financial Daily today.
After the May 9 general elections, the new Pakatan Harapan government appointed Daim as chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons.
Daim insisted that Media Prima is still controlled by Umno, while conceding that the party is looking to sell its stake. The media group has TV3, 8TV, ntv7 and TV9 and the New Straits Times Press in its stable.
Umno is linked to a 7.96 per cent stake in Media Prima via Singapore-registered company Altima Inc. According to the group’s 2018 annual report, another Umno-linked company, Gabungan Kesturi Sdn. Bhd., owned an 11.09 per cent as at February.
According to the Edge’s report, filings with Bursa Malaysia also revealed that Morgan Stanley & Co LLC was the group’s largest shareholder with a 12.73 per cent stake as of October 15, although it is unclear whom the shares are being held for.
The Employees Provident Fund had pared down its stake to 11.94 per cent as of yesterday from 13.25 per cent in February, while Amanah Raya Berhad has surfaced as a substantial shareholder with 11.09 per cent.
Daim was also quoted as acknowledging that while he oversaw Media Prima in the 1980s, he was not interested in doing so again.
“It’s a new generation, [news is] online and on web portals,” he pointed out, noting that people today want to hear honest and frank ideas in order to stimulate debate.
“If you follow the old system [and] report what the government wants you to report, nobody is going to buy,” Daim said.
Shares in Media Prima closed 0.5 sen or 1.22 per cent higher at 41.5 sen yesterday, bringing a market capitalisation of RM460.32 million. Year to date (YTD), its share price has fallen 43.8 per cent.
The stock had however recovered 46.4 per cent from its YTD low of 28 sen on May 15 in the week after the 14th general elections on May 9.