CEO Morning Brief

Star Media Redesignates MCA Wanita Chief Wong You Fong as Non-independent Director

Publish date: Fri, 02 Jun 2023, 08:36 AM
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TheEdge CEO Morning Brief
Inset: Wong You Fong

KUALA LUMPUR (June 1): A day after the Star Media Group Bhd chairman insisted that MCA Wanita chief Wong You Fong can be an independent director of the MCA-controlled company, Star Media said Wong has been redesignated as non-independent non-executive director with immediate effect.

Star Media announced this in a bourse filing on Thursday (June 1), saying the redesignation was made at Wong's own request “to avoid unnecessary confusion, ambiguity and misperception”.

The company added that the membership of its three-member Nomination Committee, in which Wong is a member, will also be reviewed following her redesignation.

“The board will identify a new member to replace Madam Wong within three months from today and make the relevant announcement,” Star Media said.

With the redesignation, Star Media now has three independent directors and three non-independent directors.

Star Media lists MCA as its largest shareholder with a 43.23% direct stake, and indirect stake of 2.16%.

Wong has been an independent director of Star Media since 2017, while serving as the deputy MCA Wanita chief, and currently as the Wanita chief as well as a party central committee member.

At a shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday, Star Media chairman Tan Sri Chor Chee Heung said Wong is “deemed independent” based on a yearly assessment conducted by the nomination committee.

Wong also provided a written declaration to Star Media, following her appointment to chair the political party division in December, Chor added.

At the extraordinary general meeting to deliberate on Star Media’s proposal to dispose of its properties to Matang Bhd in a related party deal, Chor also defended his designation as the independent chairman, saying he is just an ordinary member of MCA, having retired from key posts in the political party since 2013. He was previously a vice-president of MCA.

Minority shareholders of the media group voted to reject its proposal to sell properties, consisting of two units of factory and warehouse in Shah Alam to Matang Bhd for RM33 million in a share and cash deal.

The deal would have seen Matang satisfying RM28.9 million of the purchase consideration via issuance of 357 million new Matang shares at 8.09 sen apiece to Star Media, or 13% stake in the company. The remainder would be paid via a cash payment of RM4.12 million from the plantation group, in which MCA holds a 17.15% stake.

Tan Sri Tong Kooi Ong — a beneficial owner of a 5.4% stake in Star Media held personally and via The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd — voted against the deal. He had argued that the related party transaction was value destructive and questioned some aspects of it. He had also asked if it was right that the MCA Wanita chief is designated an independent director of Star Media, as MCA is the controlling shareholder. Wong had voted in favour of the deal with Matang at the Star board level.

Shares of Star Media settled one sen or 2.25% higher at 45.5 sen, giving the company a market capitalization of RM336.05 million.

The Edge and its owner, Tong Kooi Ong, is a substantial shareholder of Star Media after buying a 5.42% stake in the group in April.

Source: TheEdge - 2 Jun 2023

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