PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Insight, headed by co-founder of the defunct The Malaysian Insider Jahabar Sadiq, has been urged to reveal the source of the portal's funding.
"For transparency and in the public interest, Mr Jahabar should provide their names and not let the matter be shrouded in mystery," The Edge Media Group (TEMG) chief executive officer and publisher Ho Kay Tat said in a comment published by Singapore's The Straits Times.
Ho said Jahabar had previously revealed that The Malaysian Insight – which was slated to start operations by the end of March – was funded by private equity, businessmen and loans.
In his comment, Ho also refuted Jahabar's claims that The Malaysian Insider was shut down "on the first sight of trouble".
"We had lost RM13mil since we bought it in June 2014 from Mr Jahabar and his co-founders.
"With no possibility of a turnaround, and with the site blocked, we had no choice but to cease its operations," he said.
TEMG closed The Malaysian Insider in March 2016 after the news portal was blocked by the authorities over a series of articles on 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB).
Ho explained that TEMG had run into problems over its 1MDB exposés which resulted in a three-month suspension in July 2015.
"We challenged the suspension in court, won and resumed publishing after nine weeks. We did not run away," he said.
Ho claimed that the suspension caused losses amounting to several million ringgit from its two profitable assets.
He added that despite the suspension, staff salaries were still paid in full even though its cash reserves were depleted to a "level that meant we could not sustain the operations of The Malaysian Insider", which cost RM500,000 a month.
"This is a big sum of money for a small privately funded media group that is not backed by political parties or a large corporate organisation," he said.
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