The Star Publications Party election a bid for resources Although MCA’s fortunes seem to be down in the dumps, all is not lost for the party. MCA has long been a resource-rich party via its investment arm Huaren Holdings Sdn Bhd and the party’s crown jewel which is a controlling stake in Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd. MCA’s 42.45% direct stake in Star Publications, which publishes The Star daily newspaper, is worth about RM761.36 million based on last Friday’s closing share price of RM2.43 per share. MCA acquired the entire or 42.4% equity interest in Star Publications from Huaren Holdings Sdn Bhd, (a wholly owned unit of MCA), for RM1.28 billion or for RM4.09 a share. The phenomenal success of Star Publications (M) Bhd has been a boon for its controlling shareholder.Huaren Holdings Sdn Bhd, the investment arm of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), collected some RM270.7 million in dividends from its investments between 1997 and 2007, according to Huaren’s accounts filed with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM). Since March 2010, Star Publications (M) Bhd has paid over RM693 million in dividends. MCA received RM313.13 million. Add this to the income from Wisma MCA, the party would have received over RM320 million income. The Star owns four radio stations – Red fm, 988, Suria fm and Capital fm – broadcasting in Mandarin, Malay and English. The Star digital version comprises the Star Online, and also its e-paper complimentary for its print subscribers, in addition to Star iPad on the tablet and over 20 Internet portals — The Daily Chilli, mStar, Kuali, Star Property, etc. The Star has a television channel available over Astro as well as its online television SwitchUp.tv and iSnap, which is an application that is interactive with articles and advertisements (see chart below). The Star’s youth section R.AGE recently won three gold medal Marketing Excellence awards and boasts “a strong online community of young followers through its engaging use of web and social media”. The Star is a media business empire that keeps expanding and expanding. Please note that Dr Chua said The Star gave MCA “a dividend” of RM60 million per annum (referring to 2008 figure, thus the amount is likely much bigger today). The conglomerate’s profits are many, many times more since RM60 million is only the dividend. Huaren Holdings Additionally, MCA’s assets are held under several vehicles, chiefly Huaren Holdings. As at end 2011, Huaren Holdings’ net assets are worth about RM125.16 million with reserves of about RM75.16 million, according to a filing with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM). Huaren Holdings also reported profit after tax of RM2.11 million in its 2011 financial year ended Dec 31. Holdings Sdn Bhd, the investment arm of the Malaysian Chinese Association. The party’s investment arm is known as Huaren Holdings Sdn Bhd and some of its other assets are believed to include Wisma MCA and Menara Multi Purpose in Kuala Lumpur, the latter which was reportedly bought for RM375 million.
Tar College Ong Ka Ting, dismisses swirling rumours about the MCA-sponsored Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman. Ignore them, he says. The RM190 million collected so far is safe in an account called the Huaren Education Foundation under strict government supervision. Sixteen years ago, the party set up Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) to provide affordable education opportunities to the people. Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, is one of the most prestigious universities in Malaysia, ranked top 100 in Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2018 , 2nd in Malaysia after University of Malaya. It was established in June 2002 under a foundation called UTAR Education Foundation, a non-profit organisation. The university consists of 9 faculties, 3 institutes, 3 centres and 28 research centres. Both TARUC and UTAR have a total of 51,000 students. TARC is running more than 112 courses. TAR UC has a student body of over 28,000 in six campuses nationwide which include its Main Campus in Kuala Lumpur and five branch campuses in Penang, Perak, Johor, Pahang and Sabah. Tar College Setapak Land – RM 100 Million Chinese daily report yesterday that MCA had plans to sell for RM100 million the plot of land in Setapak next to where its Tunku Abdul Rahman College is, to a RM2 company. The daily also reported that speculation about the sale of the 45-acre plot of land to a company with links to the party had caused unhappiness among members and former leaders who were concerned with how such a move would be viewed by the Chinese community. Tar College Perak ( Kampar ) The Perak government gave 1,300 acres of land to develop the Kampar campus. Work started in 2003 and the first intake was in 2007. Up till now only about 200 acres have been used. Assuming the 14,000 students that were living in Kampar spent an estimate of RM14 million per month, based on RM1000 per month expenditure, the town would be flush with RM168 million per year just from tertiary education. Tar College Sabah – RM 50 Million A bigger Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARC) Sabah branch campus costing RM50 million will be set up at Alamesra, opposite Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS). The permanent campus would be constructed on a five-acre plot. “The new campus to be equipped with sport and student facilities will be the biggest in Sabah but smaller than the TARC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Tan Sri Chua Soi Lek – RM 107 Million MCA’s assets grew by RM107mil when Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek took over the helm as party president in March 2010. The MCA, he said, had also appointed tax and financial advisers to re-organise its assets to be more tax efficient. Dr Chua said the advisers recommended that shares in The Star and Wisma MCA be transferred and registered under the party. “Through this we can save a lot of money because the dividend from The Star shares and rental from Wisma MCA will be tax-free as MCA is a political party and so, tax can be exempted. It added that MCA was expecting a tax efficiency gain of RM750,000 a year through the exercise. The board explained that a gain of RM96.6mil was only reflected on paper. This was based on the transfer under the building’s recent valuation of RM136mil from RM39.4mil, recorded in the Wisma MCA Sdn Bhd’s books. Dr Chua said the party saved RM700,000 in tax every year from the rental, while the MCA’s stake in The Star increased from 41% to 42.4% in the last three years. The party also bought Menara Multi Purpose and registered it under the party and its rental was also tax-free, he said.
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Matang Holding Matang’s largest shareholder is MCA-owned Huaren Holdings with a controlling stake of 10.75 per cent. Matang Holdings is a debt-free company and to date has RM25 million in liquid assets. EN ROUTE for an ACE Market listing on Bursa Malaysia this Jan 17, plantation group Matang Bhd is truly one of the success stories championed by MCA. The dynamic vision of MCA to consolidate small Chinese businesses since early 1970s saw the fruitation of big corporations such as Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd (now known as Magnum Bhd ) in 1975 and later between 1978 and 1981, Aik Hua Holdings Bhd was set up by Selangor MCA, Panwa Development Bhd by Pahang MCA and Peak Hua Holdings Bhd by Perak MCA and Matang Holdings Bhd by Johor MCA. Matang’s wholly owned subsidiary Matang Holdings, under the guidance of Johor-based MCA, has successfully galvanised the investment of a group of smallholders for the company’s involvement in the thriving oil palm industry. Now with about 1,096ha of oil palm estates under its belt, the board of Matang Holdings has deemed it as timely to undertake an initial public offering (IPO) exercise under a special purpose vehicle, Matang Bhd. Prior to the exchange of shares exercise, Matang Holdings has 18,629 shareholders with 120 million shares, of which some have been holding on to the shares since 1981. According to Teh, Matang group has been generating commendable revenue of about RM7.4mil to RM9.4mil with the exception of last year as the El Nino weather pattern disrupted its FFB production, leading to lower revenue of about RM7.2mil. Aside from its plantation operations, the company has exposure in the property segment. It owns the Larkin Investment Property comprising three detached buildings at Kawasan Perindustrian Larkin in Johor Bahru with a total land area of 1.29ha. The property has been leased to multiple tenants for rental income. Additionally, it owns a vacant plot of land in Tangkak, Johor. Funds raised from the IPO would be mainly used for general working capital to finance Matang and its subsidiaries day-to-day operations. The listing will see Matang issuing 130 million new shares at a par value of 10 sen each with an issue price of 13 sen per share. Post-listing, the company will have a paid-up capital of 1.81 billion shares and an anticipated market capitalisation of about RM235.30mil, based on the IPO reference price of 13 sen per share. Wisma MCA – RM 1 Billion The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) is one of the oldest political parties in the country and is one of the founding members of the Alliance Party that led the country to independence in 1957. Wisma MCA is its headquarters. According to the report, based on a back-of-the-envelope calculation, the gross development value of the project “is expected to be as much as RM1 billion”. It will comprise offices, a hotel, sky lounge and restaurant. The political party’s earlier proposal submitted to Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) revealed that it the plans were for a single tower with office space, 253 hotel rooms, 46 serviced apartments and seven storeys of underground parking; and conditional approvals from the authorities were obtained in November. However, a new proposal was given on July 13 which involves tearing down the 23-storey HQ and erecting a 70-storey tower with “an eight-storey basement carpark, a 328-room hotel that will occupy 24 floors and a two-storey sky lounge and restaurant on the 68th and 69th floors”, reported the business weekly. The plans were approved by DBKL on Aug 2. “Wisma MCA is located in a very strategic and prominent location in Kuala Lumpur City Centre. It is within walking distance of the Ampang LRT Station as well as the Ampang Park MRT Station. Hence, accessibility is exceptional. According to the Development Order (DO), Theng said the redevelopment plan involved tearing down the existing 23-storey Wisma MCA to build a 71-storey skyscraper comprising, among others, 27 storeys of office space, a 24-storey hotel, four levels of multi-purpose halls, auditoriums, a museum, meeting and event spaces, as well as a nine-storey underground car park. Theng added that both candidates for the president’s post in the upcoming MCA elections should state in their manifestos their thoughts on protecting party assets. Meanwhile, Theng said that those who are on party payroll and are running for election should resign. “There are some grassroots leaders who are on the party payroll, drawing salaries between RM3,000 and RM5,000 each monthly.
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Menara Multipurpose – RM 550 Million THE Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) is looking for a buyer for Menara Multi-Purpose, which the political party purchased four years ago. The proposal to dispose of the office block located in Capital Square in Jalan Munshi Abdullah, Kuala Lumpur, had been discussed at the party’s central committee meeting in mid-2014, according to sources. According to the party’s constitution, at least two-thirds of the central committee members must vote affirmatively for the sale of any asset. “If anyone offers a good price, they (MCA) are willing to sell. They are looking at a price which is above RM410 million,” a source familiar with the matter tells The Edge. MCA purchased the building in late 2011, during Tan Sri Dr Chua Soi Lek’s tenure as party president, for RM375 million from Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd (MPHB), which was undergoing a restructuring exercise to demerge its number forecast operator business and financial services. Menara Multi-Purpose offers 541,424 sq ft in net lettable area (NLA) and 414 car park bays. It was reported that a valuation of the 43-storey building by Henry Butcher Malaysia Sdn Bhd at the time of the sale in 2011 placed the property at RM384 million. MPHB’s original cost of investment was RM289 million. The building houses Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd’s headquarters and offices of MPHB Capital Bhd’s related companies. Property valuers contacted by The Edge say the building may be able to fetch at least RM750 psf as it is freehold and enjoys a healthy level of occupancy. Based on recent transactions in the vicinity, the building may be able to fetch as much as RM1,000 psf, but it would depend on the condition of the building and the surrounding amenities. At a price range of RM750 psf to RM1,000 psf, it would place the price tag of the office tower at anything from RM406 million to RM541 million.
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