News portal The Malaysian Insider (TMI) will be shut down effective midnight today.
TMI editor Jahabar Sadiq said the company's owner, The Edge Media Group, decided to shut down the portal for “commercial reasons”.
“Perhaps it is fitting that we go offline at the start of the Ides of March,” said Jahabar in an article posted on the portal’s website.
“I hope we have served you well since our first day of going live on Feb 25, 2008. And I hope others will continue to serve you in our absence.”
Stressing that the team had worked as impartial journalists to inform Malaysians in making informed decisions, Jahabar lamented how their work at TMI has now come to an end in a “Malaysia that more than ever requires more clarity, transparency and information”.
'I won't put down my pen'
Nevertheless, Jahabar thanked everyone for their support, good wishes and criticism during the eight years since the portal was established.
“I won’t put down my pen, I won’t lay down my camera, I won’t shut up and I won’t be blinkered or turn a deaf ear to what goes on in Malaysia and the world. And I urge all of you to do the same.
“And I shall always be the biggest fan of this news portal called The Malaysian Insider,” said Jahabar.
The portal is still currently blocked by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
The block came into effect on the portal’s eighth anniversary on Feb 25.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak confirmed that the ban was due to an article on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
Meanwhile, The Edge Media Group publisher and group CEO Ho Kay Tat confirmed that the portal did not receive enough commercial support to keep it going.
The Edge Media Group, Ho (photo) said, had incurred losses of around RM10 million in the 20 months since it acquired the portal in June 2014.
He also confirmed that they were approached by three external parties who were interested to take over TMI and that there was also an offer for a management buy-out.
However, they were unable to reach an agreement with any of the parties, as well as for the management buy-out to take place.
“We believe the recent problems TMI had with the MCMC had made it more difficult for a sale to be concluded, even though discussions had started before that.
“We will be letting go of all the 59 TMI staff and they will receive a severance package as required by law,” Ho added.