Wednesday, November 10, 2010

MCA denies gaming move despite ‘meeting’ Tanjong officials

Sourced from here:

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 — The MCA leadership today moved to deny that the party is in the race for Tanjong Plc’s gaming business, although The Malaysian Insider understands the party’s investment panel chief had met Tanjong officials over the matter.

It was learnt that panel chief Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn met officials close to the company’s controlling shareholder tycoon, T. Ananda Krishnan, who is mulling offers for Tanjong’s gaming business, valued at about RM2.5 billion.

“The report is purely speculative because we have no interest in bidding for Pan Malaysian Pools Sdn Bhd,” MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said in a statement, saying he regretted the speculative report.

“The MCA is open to any investment opportunities but it has no intention to be involved in [the] gaming businesses,” he added.

Apart from Fong, Dr Chua’s son, Labis MP Chua Tee Yong, sits on the panel that supervises its investment arm Huaren Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Dr Chua also said MCA regretted that DAP has jumped the gun by attacking the party without verifying the accuracy of the news report.

“It should get its facts right. The MCA will seek legal recourse against any party that continues to speculate [on] this issue that has no basis at all.

“The DAP, being part of the Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor should instead explain the mushrooming of cyber cafes, ‘health centres’ and ‘reflexology centres’ in the state,” Dr Chua added.

A senior party official has said MCA cannot afford the entire gaming business but would be keen on the Sweepstakes, which can offer recurring revenue.

“MCA has been invited to take the stake but they will not pursue it,” said the official, citing the political aftermath of such a purchase.

MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, however, said the matter had not even been brought up at MCA’s last central committee meeting.

“This is nothing but utter rubbish. There is no truth in this. We have not even touched on this or raised this at the last central committee meeting, so how to have takeover?” Wee told The Malaysian Insider today.

The MCA man claimed that the party was in no “financial position” to even consider purchasing the gaming unit.

“How do we even want to buy the gaming business, when MCA does not have the money to do so? It’s like buying a car, you need to first have money to buy the car, right? Anyway a purchase of a gaming business is not something which would attract MCA,” said Wee.

Wee’s remarks come after MCA’s Huaren Holdings Sdn Bhd sold its 42.4 percent stake in The Star publisher Star Publications (M) Bhd for RM1.28 billion, or RM4.09 a share, to the party last Thursday, giving the investment firm the funds to buy the gaming company in a combination of cash and debt financing.

The Malaysian Insider understands that MCA has been advised to bid for the gaming unit as it offers recurring revenue, similar to The Star daily.

It is also learnt that Ananda Krishnan will decide soon whether to make the sale, which is being eyed by the Cheng family, Filipino tycoon Roberto “Bobby” Ongpin Jr and some international private equity firms.

The expected sale is part of a restructuring to be syariah-compliant and tap the Middle East and North African markets together with those in South and South-East Asia to expand the power-generation business.

The DAP today claimed of links between MCA’s bid for Tanjong Plc’s gaming business and its previous position supporting the legalisation of sports betting.

MCA was supportive of tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s Ascot Sports’ attempt to get a sports betting licence earlier this year.

Wee, however, brushed off DAP’s remarks, claiming that this was an attempt by the opposition to start an anti-MCA movement.

“This is just a plot by them so that people will attack and hate MCA, it’s not true” said Wee.