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Saturday October 26, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday October 26, 2013 MYT 7:27:36 AM
KUALA LUMPUR: Allegations relating to the sale of assets by Star Publications (M) Bhd are lies, spread with the intention to tarnish the image of the company and its management.
Company chairman Tan Sri Dr Fong Chan Onn said the reports circulating on the Internet were actuated by ulterior motives and rigged with unfounded accusations based on unsubstantiated facts and figures.
“It has come to my attention that there has been news circulating on portals with regards to the selling of assets by the company as well as other serious allegations pertaining to the management.
“These reports are an attempt to put the management in bad light and bring it into disrepute,” he said in a statement.
“I do not wish to go into details about these reports. This is for the simple reason that they are all utter lies, defamatory and crafted with deceitful intention.”
Dr Fong said the management advised those who have read these reports or received them via email to not reproduce them as the reports are all misleading, mischievous, malicious and defamatory in nature.
He added that the management had lodged police reports and consulted its lawyers, with a view to taking legal action against all those propagating false, misleading, defamatory and malicious reports.
“All those reproducing, republishing and recirculating these reports are also equally liable,” he warned.
Dr Fong also defended the sale of Tunku Abdul Rahman’s former residence in Bukit Tunku, which appreciated substantially in value after it was acquired by The Star.
“It was only sold to one of Tunku’s relatives, a senior member of the royalty, and even then at a substantial profit. It was certainly not sold to a developer,” he said.
On newsprint, Dr Fong said the material was bought at a competitive price after going through a transparent process, and not at US$650 (RM2,037) per tonne as alleged.
He added that the company did not make any purchase of newsprint in the third quarter of 2013 due to a group-wide cost control exercise.
Dr Fong said the purchase of LiTV was to secure the future of the business, with Star expanding its wings to various platforms to further generate revenue.
“Star acquired LiTV because TV (and screen business) is the future and the gestation period will take a few years,” he said.
“LiTV is Asia’s new lifestyle TV channel on High Definition, available across six countries, specifically Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan,” he said.
Dr Fong said LiTV had already attracted interest from companies in the United States and South Korea, which had offered a much higher price for control of the channel.
“LiTV’s purchase was an arm’s length transaction,” he said.
“According to the founder, there was never an offer from Asian Broadcasting Network (ABN) at RM15mil or at all. In fact ABN launched its service this year when LiTV was acquired two years ago,” he said.
Dr Fong also hit out at the attempt to mislead the public on its circulation and readership numbers.
“In fact The Star’s circulation has recorded a steady increase in numbers since 2009,” he said.
“The Star’s readership of 1.62 million is the highest among all English dailies. Anyone who needs to know the truth can check with the Audit Bureau of Circulations and AC Nielsen,” he added.
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