Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Taking the NSTP private

Updated: The Scribe, a former GEIC of the NSTP: Protecting NSTP's Brandname and Goodwill

Original Article:

NOT a good idea.
A journalist from the Edge asked me about the initiative to take the New Straits Times Press private. I said I heard a decision was going going to be made in a day or two. I also said that if it happens, there would be bad press for Najib or Umno. My friend isn't the only one who agreed.

The accountants can cook up 1001 means to justify the end (the favourite line I've heard is that taking NSTP private would "unlock its potential", or something to that effect). But the move, I'm afraid, will not be just about economic gains and financial potential. The NSTP is the media apparatus closest to Umno and the Prime Minister (even though its reports don't usually reflect that, especially lately). Which means, there is a political angle to the story which may override the "unlocking-the-potential" factor offered by the accountants.

The thing is, I don't think those accountants have taken time to gauge the political feedback. If they had, they would have stopped dead in their tracks upon realising the political backlash they could be unlocking.

Most of the people I talked to about the move to take NSTP private offered the same conclusion or, rather, assumption: That the plan is to PRE-EMPT a defeat by the Barisan Nasional to the Pakatan Rakyat at PRU13!

I was stumped. How does that happen?

Well, as another analyst told me, it does look like UMNO or Najib thinks an insurance is needed in the event of a defeat to PR in PRU13, crucial assets like Media Prima/NSTP don't fall to the enemy. I argued that the fear of losing the next general election was perhaps very real when Pak Lah was still the PM, but certainly it is no longer the case. I thought there was more confidence on BN's part now that they would do better at PRU13, especially with Najib winning the battle on the economic front?

Was I wrong?

Taking NSTP private will provide his detractors with the firepower to accuse Najib Razak of trying to put the media under his direct control. Anwar Ibrahim attempted the same with the Management Buy Out of the NSTP in the mid-90s. Such a negative perception will not be in the interest of the PM, who has said he would give more latitude to the media under his watch and who has thus far done well to keep to his word.

Any suggestion that the move to take NSTP private will be good for transparency and media freedom will be rendered idiotic. If they wanted to "free" the NSTP of direct political control and intervention, they should have done it as soon as PRU12 was over. We are now almost two years after PRU12!

On the contrary, if this idea of taking NSTP private involves a merger with Media Prima and its television channels (which are all doing very well without NSTP, anyway), Umno and Najib should be concerned with the prospect of having ONE media tsar controlling all the apparatus under the group.

We saw a glimpse of that in the last 6 years when Pak Lah "surrendered" the business of managing/controlling the media in the hands of one person that he and only he trusted.

That was the time when the Government believed in its own propaganda.


  1. Anonymous7:34 pm

    This guy who owns Image 59 and a good friend of your good friend A Ahmad Talib, and Tengku Sarifuddin Ahmad (Najb's press secretary) are behind it. These guys have not one iota of nationalistic fervor in them, we must make a concerted effort to stop this!

    You know me well!

  2. "That was the time when the Government believed in its own propaganda."


    anyway, bro, selamat hari raya.

    say, i recall that piece you did on bagan pinang, and i must say i am getting contradictory signals from the man on the streets here in kl, tho, and i do mean the man in the streets.

    but it must be said, in the end, it is the intelligent voters in bagan pinang, and not those in kl, who will decide the fate of their constituency. cheers!

  3. Anonymous9:49 pm

    Yeah Rocky

    I want to believe that Najib is doing a good job of dismantling the political mess by sleeping paklah and family.

  4. Anonymous10:43 pm

    it's not good coz i'm no part of it ain't it rocky?

  5. AminGL11:00 pm


    You still don't get it? UMNO and BN will lose BIG time in the next election. The Rakyat has rejected UMNO and Barisan Nasional simply because:

    1) PKFZ scandal
    2) Shah Alam cow-head protestors
    3) A Kugan's death while in police custody
    4) Ahmad Ismail’s utterance of “pendatang” on fellow rakyat
    5) "unlawful" Perak coup by UMNO
    6) skyrocket crime rate
    7) Death of Teoh Beng Hock at MACC
    8) UMNO's rejection of IPCMC.
    9) Mongolia Altantuya Shaariibuu
    10) Corruption, Nepotism, Incompetent, Partisan, Ineffective in BN.

  6. Anonymous11:33 pm


    u said now that economy is ok under najib, things shld be ok for BN for PRU13. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    U mean the rakyat shld close one eye on Altantuya and Scorpene deal + PKFZ + F1 deals?

    U mean as long as economy is ok then someone and his cronies can sapu the rakyat's money and evryone can still be happy?

    My faith no teach me such things wo. Weird la u.


  7. Since when UMNO become so faint-hearted, Bro?

  8. Shariff12:18 am

    From a purely business point of view - merging NSTP under Media Prima devalues Media Prima.
    And I would agree that putting all the TV and Print media under one mogul (as seem with Fox and News Corp) leads to an indvidual wielding a lot of power.
    But then this is Malaysia Boleh Inc. - so I think they in power dont care what you think.
    Besides - it does seem like the white flag of surrender before the next election...

  9. bru,

    so all the media haprak is amno media eh. i hope if 1day pakatan rules malaysia they will turn this media haprak something like harakah. just for amno supporters reading and limited permit.

    so then your children will know what is mainstream media is all about.

  10. Anonymous1:44 am

    Whatever the result of GE13 is, please make sure NSTP are not going to fall into the hand of any of the political hypocrites.

    Yes, one who talks so much about democracy but in practise, they only accept opinions that would say only good thing about PR but to the contrary they blocked all the negative opinions according to their whims and fancies.

    Hmmm, smart peoples have got enough of this liars on the Net already. Bet you bro, democracy will definitely die if this sort of buggers are allowed to lay even a single shitty finger on the NSTP.


  11. Hi Bru,
    Regardless of what the NSTP-UMNO (or for that matter Star-MCA) history is or how it came into being, a national newspaper owned directly by a political party is principally wrong, regardless of present political circumstances etc. Yes, I agree that the sale might end up with ownership linked directly to a politician, but that is something we will have deal with if and when it happens. Political parties can alternatively propagate their agenda and message through party publications etc. From a political news perspective, most Malaysian already rely on new media sources so all this might be moot in the coming years anyway :)

  12. Anonymous9:45 am

    Abg Senior,

    Be positive laa.. it is taken private to "unlock hidden potential". BN nak takut aper, kan PR dah tak relevan, anwar, nik aziz & LKS semua kan nak musnahkan negara & pengkhianat bangsa...tu yg MSM & BN gembar-gemburkan

    Adik Jr. MassComm ITM

  13. rocky,
    datuk kadir jasin has also posted on the NSTP-Media Prima plan.

  14. Anonymous10:30 am

    There are nothing wrong taking NSTP private. In fact Najib should swiftly endorsed this move as soon as possible.

    what are nstp today. let me put it bluntly. It's trash run by garbage men.

    Nst are very bad today that they are struggling to even reach the 90,000 circulation daily.

    Mediocrity creeping in from the top right up to the lowest level. Its no longer about rotten fish head, the whole fish has rot.

    The editors at the top are of low standard, the circulation department is without head, the marketing department head is just sitted on their ass waiting advertisement fell on their laps.

    What did the company do. None. The recent appointed group of editors and directors are passengers enjoy the perks and high wages they got.

    on BH side, sales down but not bad as NST. and Metro lost cos lost credibility with their tipu story and nobody care.

    Rocky, don't just write from your your arm chair and expect turn around the company.

    we need action. so go private is one of the way. other option is for PM to look again at the editors and directors.


  15. skilgannon106611:33 am

    Let the MCA relinquish control of 'The Star' and Umno control of the 'NST'. Then we can see who is truly walking the talk.

    While we are about it, can 'Utusan M' and 'Harian Metro' be also taken private?

    Or wait, maybe the intention is to go the way of Singapore's SPH, a public-listed company, that controls and produces the major English, Malay and Chinese newspapers in the city-state. What better way to maximise ad revenues than by having one controlling entity calling the shots?

    No doubt, there is a grand restructuring plan already in place somewhere!

  16. Anonymous12:38 pm

    What Pre-empt? If PR were to win next GE, it will only mean that UMNO's media have failed, or rather, rakyat are ignoring them. PR can ignore TV3, Utusan, NST, RTM, etc...why bother taking over failed media? They can surely create their own propaganda machine.

    Ada sebab lain kot pasal NST ni? Actually, readers are fed up with NST propaganda news from Kali days. Who wants to read KJ's column? Still there aaa?


  17. peminatrocky2:38 pm

    memula dia kata kerajaan melayu corrupt. kendian budaya melayu curi dari tempat lain, raja melayu kaki gangster, hakim melayu tak jujur, businessmen melayu tak tau niaga dan harap subsidi, polis melayu bantai/repress orang awam, tentera nelayu beli senjata rasuah, universiti melayu takda kualiti, ahli parlimen melayu takda adab sopan, scholars melayu tak layak dapat biasiswa, pegawai kerajaan melayu suka terima rasuah,pemimpin melayu penuh skandal, tanah melayu tanah dia, perjuangan melayu tak setanding perjuangan bukan melayu/komunis, infrastruktur melayu semua membazir, sekolah melayu sama jugak tak berkualiti, sekarang SURAT KABAR MILIK MELAYU PULAK .... eh bila la melayu nak sedar ni... semua ni kan jelas terancang!!!!



  18. Bro

    NST will not perform better or worse if taken private or if it remains a PLC. And accountants do not determine the fate of NST; they merely work out if it's financially viable and the mechanics of privatising NST.

    The decision to take private, if true, could only have come from the PM and UMNO.

    Therefore, there can only be 1 reason for taking NST private i.e. to keep the Opposition from taking control of it should the BN Govt fall.

    That they should be considering it now is the clearest indication yet that PM Najib does not believe his 1 M'sia will work. With this move he also clearly does not believe UMNO/BN's MSM propaganda about BN gaining ground on Pakatan!!

    If anything, Najib's policies and recent actions, in particular the fiasco in Perak, the handling of the Altantuya/Razak Baginda case, Kugan and TBH death cases, cow's head incident, PKFZ fraud and scandal, disquiet over $500 million dollar "commissions" paid for scorpene submarines and sukhoi jets, the Rohaizat disaster in P.Pasir, the continued persecution of Anwar Ibrahim, combined with MCA and MIC shooting themselves in the foot, have backfired on UMNO/BN tremendously.

    More than that the Selcat inquiries have exposed deep rooted corruption and fraud in previous administrations as have the RCI's into the Police and the Judiciary, on which no action has been taken despite millions of taxpayers' money having been spent on them!

    We are all of 1 race, the Human Race

  19. Anonymous3:14 pm

    amingl and niaseng

    those are unfounded allegations

    WHEREAS anwar was a CONVICT and has served jail time

    moreover he is NOW facing sodomy2

    you guys are not using the right organ to comment

    heh heh heh

  20. Anonymous3:16 pm

    Death Toll : 1
    Shot : 1

    Cop found with throat slit

    NUSAJAYA: A policeman who was abducted by several men while out with his girlfriend has been found murdered, with his throat slit.

    The decomposed body of constable P. Selvaganesan, 26, was discovered in an oil palm plantation several days ago.

    Selvaganesan was involved in loan-sharking activities since his suspension two years ago.

    The policeman, attached to the state police headquarters, was suspended for shooting a colleague in the shoulder after a quarrel outside a pub two years ago

  21. Anonymous3:46 pm


    1) PKFZ scandal - maybe Chinese will remember. Its an MCA isu. Chinese dont vote for BN anyway. No big deal. Indians and Malays may not care.

    2) Shah Alam cow-head protestors - I think this one has won back many Malay votes for BN. Indians dont vote for BN anyway. You will see this in Teluk Kemang soon. No big deal.

    3) A Kugan's death while in police custody - aiyyo tambi, even the Indians dont care about Kugan lah. He was a gangster lah.

    4) Ahmad Ismail’s utterance of “pendatang” on fellow rakyat - Ahmad who? Even I cant remember this anymore.

    5) "unlawful" Perak coup by UMNO - This coup has won back many Malay votes for BN. The Chinese never vote BN. No big deal. The Indians in Perak may vote for BN this time around.

    6) skyrocket crime rate - not really got effect lah. Chinese people in KL very frightened of Indian gangster and Indon robber.

    7) Death of Teoh Beng Hock at MACC - this one must ask Ronni Liu and Tan Boon Hwa and Wye Wing etc. DAP may be implicated.

    8) UMNO's rejection of IPCMC - no lah. ISA sudah review mah! Now only nine people left in ISA Kamunting. Very soon zero people left.

    9) Mongolia Altantuya Shaariibuu - Who?

    10) Corruption, Nepotism, Incompetent, Partisan, Ineffective in BN - this one possible. But now have corruption in DAP mah (Ronnie Liu). Nepotism in DAP (Ngeh and Nga, Kit Siang and Guan Eng) Incompetent in PKR (Khalid Ibrahim) and Hassan Ali (PAS Selangor), Ineffective (the whole Pakatan Rakyat and especially PAS).

    Pakatan Rakyat lagi teruklah.

  22. AminGL you still dreaming isn't? Sg. Buloh is waiting for sombody.. A is not a realname...let put it this way..Pru13 will be a nightmare for fu.katan riots...and malay's will remain the power...through UMNO..

  23. Anonymous6:34 pm

    Image 59, any connection with 59 communications & sabri ex-tv3?

  24. Rocky,

    Have you not been reading my comments from just after 8 March last year?

    You said/or quoted "That the plan is to PRE-EMPT a defeat by the Barisan Nasional to the Pakatan Rakyat at PRU13!"

    I have been telling all along, if and when PR takes over, the laws would all still be very much intact ad effective. Haul all the licensees and ask them to show how they can justify their license to publish a newspaper? When they can't, just cancel the license!! Issue it to anyone else who can prove that they have been newspaper publishers as the civilised world knows it.

    I also suggested that these new licensees can then approach NSTP and tell them they will take over everything for RM1.00. And mind you, for the NSTP owners, that would be a steal really.

    And assuming you were still running MM then, what do you think will happen to your license? Ah...MM might be worth just 50 sen, maybe!!

    Now how all this works or will work....well I'm coming back soon, can explain it all to you. But you don't need me to. Am sure there are enough accountants there who can.

    I've probably done a posting on my blog on just this as well..can't remember now!!

    Do you think Utusan will survive? And what about Berita Harian? The Chinese papers might! The Star? I wonder too.

  25. Anonymous9:23 pm


    Why not? Time for NST to go Global.By going private NST is free to taunt those tight arse commisars that rule Singapore to be more democratic.

    Prof Awe Kecik

  26. Anonymous11:45 pm

    whats the fuss - private or public, does the paper sell? is the co profitable?

    If history is any indicator the group was doing very well until Munir was removed as managing editor because of a leader.

    Therein lies the problem - interference by politicians!

    Wherever private or public, unless independence is permitted and defended, NST etc is good as dead.


  27. Anonymous2:37 am

    NST's circulation 90,000?

    Let's get an excuse. Let's blame Kali and Brendan Prerira like everybody else blaming Mahathir despite being out of office donkey years ago.

  28. Anonymous9:34 am

    Stupid people in here arguing about a lot of stupid stuff.


    Above link is why it should be taken private FROM A FINANCIAL STANDPOINT. Y'all sit here arguing politics with your diploma in stupidity.


    PS: Rocky, either way you argue, for or against NSTP being taken private, everyone will still criticise. I appreciate that you are doing a good job of just highlighting interesting news and reserving most of your comments to yourself.


  29. Anonymous10:49 am

    BAGUS kalau NST di ambil alih oleh Media Prima. Saham NST mampu naik ke RM4.20. Datu Kadeer balik tidoqle.
    Malaysian Finance

  30. Ah Goh Goh11:30 am

    Private ke tidak, staff kat MM lebih rela balik NSTP la. Apa tidak, budak tak cukup umur leh jadi wak Editor. Kalu leh buat kerja pun takpe...malu beb.....

  31. Anonymous3:29 pm

    NST what ??

    Shit newspaper only good for wiping ass.

  32. Anonymous11:17 pm

    oldfart says,

    "Do you think Utusan will survive? And what about Berita Harian? The Chinese papers might! The Star? I wonder too."

    The question is why only the Chinese papers might stay but the rest are questionable?

    Are you saying these papers are not championing issues based on race and religion and because of that they can survive? Or is it because of the language that made you come out with a bias conclusion?


  33. Anonymous9:16 am

    I would not purchase a single share of it if it goes public in the immediate future.
    I bet without Najib or UMNO financial help it will go bust in a matter of a few years.
    Who is going to buy the newspaper it produces ?