Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Now every STAR journalist needs to register an interest in AIrAsia stock

THE STAR has announced that AirAsia CEO and major shareholder Tony Fernandes has been appointed a director of its publisher, Star Publications (M) Bhd. The Star has been a prominent publicist  for AirAsia, publishing commentaries usually in favour of AirAsia.
Given the appointment Fernandes becomes part of the mind that directs the company and the paper. This is THE STAR, a Malaysian paper, owned by the MCA ,a prominent  member of the ruling Barisan Nasional, so arguments of editorial independence can be safely put aside.

Consequently, it does appear that  each and every journalist at THE STAR, managing editor Wong Chun Wai downwards, would need, in accordance with the law as stipulated in the Securities Industry Act 1980, tto enter into the "register in the prescribed
form ... the securities in which he/she  has an interest" .
The  relevant provisions  are reproduced below:

29. Application of this Part.
(1) This Part applies to a person who is–
(g) a financial journalist; or

30. Register of Securities.
(1) A person to whom this Part applies shall maintain a register in the prescribed
form of the securities in which he has an interest.

31. Notice of particulars to Commission.
(1) A person to whom this Part applies shall give notice to the Commission in the
prescribed form containing such particulars as are prescribed including the place
at which he will keep the register of his interest in securities.
[Am. Act A847:s.11; Am. Act A943:s.30]

(5) Any person who fails or neglects to give notice as required by this section commits
an offence.

4. Interest in Securities.

(3) A person shall be deemed to have an interest in a security where a body corporate
has an interest in a security and–

(c) that person, or the associates of that person or that person and his associates
are entitled to exercise or control the exercise of not less than 15% of the
votes attached to the voting shares in the body corporate

4) For the purposes of paragraph (3)(c), a person is an associate of another person if
the first-mentioned person is–

(b) a person in accordance with whose directions, instructions or wishes that
other person is accustomed or is under an obligation, whether formal or
informal, to act in relation to the security referred to in subsection (3);
(c) a person who is accustomed or is under an obligation, whether formal or
informal, to act in accordance with the directions, instructions or wishes of
that other person in relation to that security;

(9) An interest in a security shall not be disregarded by reason only of–
(a) its remoteness;

Of course, none of the above  would apply if the THE STAR undertakes to never ever publish any commentary whatsoever about AirAsia, but I doubt that.


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