JOHOR BARU, Dec 7 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should call for a scrutiny on private ownership of media companies in Malaysia, Johor State Assembly Speaker Datuk Puad Zarkashi said.
The Umno politician said this is important as there were certain people with vested interests who were controlling the national narrative, without naming anyone.
“Such a media monopoly also needs to be corrected. Don't allow the national narrative to be dominated by certain people with grand ambitions,” he wrote in a short entry on Facebook yesterday.
He noted Anwar had spoken out on monopolies and in particular those regarding rice distribution, which is majority held by billionaire Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary through his 92 per cent stake in the country’s sole rice importer Padiberas Nasional Berhad.
Puad suggested that rice was not Syed Mokhtar’s only “monopoly” as the latter also owned stakes in Media Prima, the country’s largest news and entertainment conglomerate.
He insinuated that Syed Mokhtar’s business empire was due to his close links with two past prime ministers Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Now he monopolises Media Prima that in turn owns TV3 and NSTP,” alleged Puad, who is also the Rengit assemblyman.
Syed Mokhtar was ranked Malaysia’s 15th richest man this year by Forbes magazine.
The businessman who will turn 71 on December 12 was reported by financial newspaper The Edge to control 31 per cent of Media Prima shares through a private company Aurora Mulia Sdn Bhd in 2019.
Media Prima’s second largest shareholder is reportedly Umno politician and Titiwangsa MP Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani who holds 15 per cent through his private investment firm JAG Capital Holdings Sdn Bhd.
In third place is US investment bank Morgan Stanley with 12.83 per cent.