Reports claiming that Malaysiakini is working on a share exchange deal with media interests aligned with Umno are false, the company’s chief executive officer, Premesh Chandran said today.
“There is no truth in the allegations that Malaysiakini will be sold to Umno-backed interests,” Premesh said.
Malaysiakini has been operating since 1999 as an independent media organisation and will remain so, he added.
The speculation was sparked by a report in The Malaysian Insider saying Malaysiakini would be providing content to The Malay Mail in exchange for equity in the afternoon tabloid.
Following this, another online portal, Malaysia Chronicle, suggested in a follow-up report that a share exchange deal might take place, resulting in Umno-backed personalities gaining control of Malaysiakini .
“We have asked Malaysia Chronicle to retract their story immediately,” said Premesh, adding that the news portal made no attempt to contact Malaysiakini for verification.
At the time of writing, both Malaysia Chronicle (left) and The Malaysian Insider (top) have updated their respective reports to reflect Premesh's denial.
Over the past 12 years, Malaysiakini has been accused of links with various political and business interests, none of which were true.
The majority stake in Malaysiakini remains with its two co-founders, Steven Gan and Premesh.
The next largest stakeholder is an international media investor - the Media Development Loan Fund - which bought just under 30 percent of Malaysiakini in 2002.
The remaining Malaysiakini shares have been distributed to its staff over the years, as recognition for their contributions to the organisation.