IT has been confirmed that Ismee Ismail is the new chairman of Media Prima Bhd.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Dr Salleh Said Keruak today told Bernama that Ismee would helm the media company, following months of speculation that the position would go to either him or Al-Amin Abdul Majid.

Ismee, the former Tabung Haji chief executive, was recently appointed as an independent member of the Media Prima board.

Ismee replaces former chairman Fateh Iskandar, who landed in trouble after he fought several pro-government bloggers and allies last year.

Media Prima also fell into the red in the financial year ended December 31, 2016, after incurring RM97.9 million in losses from a one-off restructuring exercise and RM43.4mil more in start-up costs for new initiatives.

Malaysia’s largest media group, Media Prima controls all private free-to-air television stations in Malaysia, and owns radio stations as well as a stable of newspapers under The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd that publishes New Straits Times, Berita Harian, and Harian Metro.

The group recently acquired Rev Asia Bhd, a unit of Internet company Catcha Group, for RM100 million.

MEANWHILE, according to Malaysiakini:

1MDB founding director now Media Prima chair

Ismee Ismail, the founding director of troubled sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, will be appointed chairperson of media giant Media Prima Bhd board of directors soon.

This was confirmed by Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak, according to Bernama.

Ismee was appointed as an independent board member of the company in March.

Media Prima is one of the biggest media stables in the country, with interests in TV3, 8TV, ntv7, TV9 and The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd.

Ismee, a trained accountant, is best known for his role as group managing director and chief executive officer of Tabung Haji.

He also held positions in KFC Holdings Malaysia Bhd, Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd, BIMB Holdings Bhd, Felda Global Ventures Bhd and ECM Libra Capital Sdn Bhd.

In 2009, he was among the founding directors of 1MDB. He and five others resigned after the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) found that the company was poorly managed.

During Ismee’s time on the 1MDB board, the company had dealings with both Tabung Haji and Takaful.

In 2015, Tabung Haji had acquired land from 1MDB as part of plans to be part of the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project. 1MDB were owners of the TRX project at the material time.

Critics pointed out that Tabung Haji paid a staggering RM2,779 per square feet. 1MDB had acquired the land from Putrjaya last a few years prior at a price of RM74.20 per square feet.

Meanwhile, Takaful’s decision to loan RM85 million to 1MDB in 2009 had also come under public scrutiny.

Takaful is an Islamic insurance company set up by the government in 1981.

– /mkini