The Edge Media Group (TEMG) has announced it has ceased the operations of the news portal The Malaysian Insider (TMI) with immediate effect.
In a statement it said: "Despite the fact that TMI is one of the top three news portals based on traffic in Malaysia because of its courageous news reporting, it did not receive enough commercial support to keep it going."
According to the media company, TEMG has incurred losses of around RM10 million in the 20 months since it acquired TMI in June 2014 and it is no longer in a position to keep it going.
Over the past two months, TMEG said it was approached by three external parties who were interested to take over TMI. There was also an offer for a management buy-out (MBO).
"Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement with any of the external parties as well as for the MBO to take place."
We believe the recent problems TMI had with The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had made it more difficult for a sale to be concluded even though discussions had started before that.
In February, this year, MCMC, the country's Internet regulatory blocked access to TMI citing that the site's contents were allegedly in violation of Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. This was soon after the site published reports on 1MDB scandal.
On it's Facebook post, TMI said:
"Before the lights go out on The Malaysian Insider at midnight, we say "Thank You" to our readers.
TMI started on February 25, 2008. Today, after eight years and less than a month, we say good night to all as our owners call it a day after keeping us for 20 months.
It has been an exhilarating ride. In our eight years, we have garnered a following of some close to three million readers a day and have become one of the top three most read news websites in the country.
The most challenging time has been over the past year when four of our editors were detained, and our website being blocked for allegedly publishing false news.
On the day we turned eight this year, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) blocked the site on grounds of "national security" over an article that quoted a source regarding evidence against the prime minister's alleged financial scandals.
Since the news earlier today about the closure, we have seen a torrent of thank you messages and well-wishes on the site and on social media.
Many readers, who have contributed articles to our site, also expressed their appreciation for giving them a platform to share their opinions and writing. No words can express our thanks to our readers who have praised us, critiqued us and stuck with us.
We thank you for your support. We hope our reporting has inspired Malaysians to think for themselves and strive for a better tomorrow although our site will be offline from midnight.
The struggle for a free Press does not end with the closure of The Malaysian Insider. – March 14, 2016.
"The closure of TMI should serve as a reminder to those of us in the media industry as well as the public at large that good journalism cannot be sustained without commercial support. And when good journalism stops, society is the loser," Ho Kay Tat, director, Edge Insider, Publisher & Group CEO. The Edge Media Group said.