How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Star's less than stellar performance and at the receiving end of reporting

A friend forwarded to me this report (no mention of source):


Wong Chun Wai (WCW)
Fong Chan Onn (FCO)
Vincent Lee (VL)
Koh Beng Huat (KBH)

There was a big turnout for the AGM. The venue (room next to auditorium) was crammed and overflowed and this was pointed out by two shareholders. "It is too small, you are not performing your social responsibility and it looks bad."
A lot of shareholders expressed concern about the falling share price saying if revenue, circulation and readership is going up as claimed why the dip?
One shareholder noted that even Star directors were selling their shares to which one director said he is still buying.
FCO said Star is an investment stock, not a betting stock and still pays good dividends.
A visibly upset shareholder criticised the paper for telling lies and inaccurate reporting and said she represents many other readers with similar sentiments. "If you don't report correctly, who will buy your paper?"
WCW responded by describing the shift in the sentiments of urban voters/readers of Star as being anti-establishment /angry with anything associated with BNasional. He said that Star was generally accurate in its coverage and online portals like TMI and Malaysiakini were sometimes wrong.
For example, he said Star never said Barisan would win in Penang. He added they report what politicians say. The comment, "Don't talk rubbish" was overheard while he was talking. He asked for shareholders' patience in hearing him out WCW said he has to work in a difficult situation as he has to answer to KDN (Home Ministry), shareholders, owners, and readers. "I am praised and bashed by both sides. We put Anwar on the page one with Najib and I got a shelling,"

An ex-employee said he would support a management buyout (MBO) provided the buyers are those with a good reputation as he said it is better if Star is out of the Barisan/MCA mode which comes with tight controls and obligations.
He also criticised the partisan advertisements in the run-up to GE13 ie "A vote for DAP is a vote for PAS" saying it had angered readers and that they were ill-conceived and not thought out properly. The directors reiterated there will be no MBO and MCA has no intention of selling off Star.
Other shareholders asked what rates were charged for the political advertisements but the BoD said it was given on a "group buying basis" but did not reveal the actual rates. They said it was according to "professional market pricing" and there was "no special treatment for anybody."
Another shareholder said the Star should lead the way in offering unbiased and objective writing. Star writers should be professional although she acknowledged that specialist writers/columnists have a right to have their say.
A shareholder also questioned how the recommendations for the re-election of directors are done. "The next AGM, when we elect a director, please let us know what their contributions are."
Finally, after all the resolutions were passed by a show of hands, the former general manager of Star, Koh Beng Huat, got up to speak. He pointed out that he had given the secretary a list of written questions and asked that the answers be read out. Most pertained to the welfare of Star employees. He also asked about the progress of the book which was to be published in conjunction with Star's 40th anniversary. The answer was the editorial team was busy because of GE13 and they are now editing and "verifying interviews."
KBH: This is the first time I have stepped forward since I left. The humble workers laid the foundation for the company. The employees are the most valuable asset but the impression given is otherwise.  I hear a lot of negative remarks about the paper and the company - from both current and former employees. Why couldn't Star retain Ho Kay Tat? He was a true professional. Did he leave because of politicking among the top management? I sold 30 lots of shares. The price has gone down from 3.20 to 2.60 after Ho Kay Tat left.
The performance bonus should be scrapped. I've seen how the system was abused more than 30 years ago in NST, resulting in victimization and favouritism. I don't want Star employees to feel the same. I know you reward your favourites, those you don't like you minimise and cut off. The ex-gratia bonus had been successfully implemented for many years. It was a motivator to employees.
Star is not performing the way it should be performing. It used to be among the top 100 companies by market capitalization. Something is seriously wrong. We are told circulation and revenue is going up but the share price is dropping. What are the directors doing?
I'm not protecting WCW, I'm sad for him. He is a professional. He should concentrate full time on editorial matters. Don't get involved with the BoD. There is too much politicking - they will make use of you. He loves the paper, so do I. WCW don't spend time designing T-shirts and accepting mock cheques. Don't spend time on the BoD. They will grill you and politicians want to make use of you. Get out of the Board.
I am a lifetime member of MCA. MCA owns 40% - they act like they own the paper. And whack each other like mad. Star should not get involved in internal party politicking. You can't run Star like an advertising agency. (VL interjected and said that Naga had been second largest contributor to Star revenue. )
Advertising is a dog eat dog. A newspaper is very different. Don't bully the staff, don't' take them for granted. Don't ignore them. Treat them with respect. Take care of the employees - they are our greatest asset. Star cares for its workers. Why is it until now they have not been given their increment and performance bonus? Don't give out titles as you like. Don't bully the employees and transfer and redesignate them. This is not your father's company. David Yeoh is a wonderful newspaperman. What is he doing in Penang?
The Star has achieved great success over the years but this year is not going to be a good year. I heard a lot of negative comments about the top management and BoD. The rate they are carrying on Star is going downhill.
When I and Steven Tan went to see the chairman, FCO, when he was Minister of Human Resources he brushed us off and said he was too busy. The chairman and directors come and go. I hope FCO will not brush us off this time and give a firm commitment. Make sure the company is run properly. Don't disappoint Tunku Abdul Rahman. Don't ignore his contribution.

Poll results a hot issue at Star AGM
A few shareholders accuse publication of supporting BN
According to people present, one man told Wong Chun Wai, the firm's editor and executive director, that though he remained a shareholder, he had stopped buying the newspaper because of what he felt was the publication's one-sided coverage that seemed to favour the ruling Barisan Nasional .
Another accused Tony Fernandes, who was seeking re-election as the firm's independent director, of using chartered flights to ferry Bangladeshi "phantom" voters - a widely believed rumour spread by the opposition - to cast ballots in the May 5 general election. Mr Fernandes, the controlling shareholder of budget carrier Air Asia, agreed that there had been chartered flights but said they had been used to ferry Sabahans working in Johor home to vote.
The general tone of many of the shareholders was hostile. "It was as if the elections weren't ended," one shareholder who was present told The Business Times. "Instead of talking about business or profit, they just wanted the paper to bash the government."

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