The acquisition of two Chinese-language dailies by the Malaysia Chinese Association (MCA), the second-largest political party in the ruling National Front coalition, is cause for concern, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). On 31 May, the MCA's investment arm, Huaren Holdings, acquired a 72.35% stake in Nanyang Press Holdings, publisher of "Nanyang Siang Pau" and "China Press". CPJ does not normally take positions on media ownership issues, but it fears that this particular takeover could threaten the editorial independence of the newspapers, which are two of the country's three top-selling Chinese-language newspapers. CPJ is urging the MCA to ensure that both newspapers retain their editorial independence.
Virtually all mainstream newspapers in Malaysia are owned or controlled by parties aligned with the National Front, reports CPJ. "By taking control of ["Nanyang Siang Pau" and "China Press"], the MCA is further consolidating state control over the press, and threatening two of the only independent voices that remain in the Malaysian media," says CPJ. The organisation notes that a number of personnel at the two publications have been asked to leave their posts since the takeover and some of these positions have been filled with MCA supporters. For more information, see www.cpj.org