The Malaysian Insider

The Malaysian Insider (also known as TMI, The Insider, or Malay Ins Ins) was a Malaysian bilingual news site. During its peak, it ranked consistently as one of the country's 100 most popular websites. In June 2009, Alexa ranked it as Malaysia's 57th most popular website.[1] estimated that it had almost 19,000 unique visitors in April 2009.[2]

The Malaysian Insider
TypeOnline newspaper
Owner(s)The Edge Media Group
EditorJahabar Sadiq
Founded25 February 2008
Ceased publication15 March 2016
HeadquartersBangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

On 25 February 2016, The Malaysian Insider was blocked by the country's Internet regulatory body, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on the grounds of national security, following continuous publication of defamatory content—an action widely perceived by pro-opposition groups as interference with free speech.[3][4][5][6][7] After the blocking, the site's owner decided to shut it down at midnight on 15 March 2016, citing financial losses incurred by its parent company The Edge Media Group amounting to RM 10 million in the 20 months since The Malaysian Insider's acquisition.[8][9]


The Malaysian Insider was established by Png Hong Kwang and Sreedhar Subramaniam in December 2007. Png is a journalist, and Subramaniam is the former Chief Operating Officer of the free-to-air Malaysian TV channel ntv7. A group of businessmen and journalists close to former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi started the news portal as a counter to Malaysiakini, which was deemed unfriendly to the Barisan Nasional (BN). When Abdullah resigned in 2009, BN stopped financing the news agency. After talking to several connections, the news portal's top management re-secured funding with help from a 30-something Penang-born businessman with close ties to the current BN leadership.[10]

Until its closure on 15 March 2016, The Malaysian Insider was led by Chief Executive Officer and Editor Jahabar Sadiq who has worked as a journalist in the region since 1988.[11] In June 2014, The Malaysian Insider was bought by The Edge Media Group.[9] On 15 March 2016, the online newspaper was shut down by The Edge Media Group, citing financial losses amounting to RM 10 million in the past 20 months since The Malaysian Insider's acquisition. Other factors leading to the Insider's closure included a decision by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to block internet access to the news website on 25 February over alleged "unverified reports" and tensions between The Edge and the Malaysian Government concerning the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal.[8][9]


The Malaysian Insider aimed to report an "unvarnished take on events and personalities in Malaysia."[11] The editorial generally maintained a critical stance against both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat, although it later came to side more with the opposition parties. During the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis when BN managed to topple the Pakatan Rakyat state government, it published several hard-hitting editorial pieces calling for the dissolution of the state assembly.


While the news site ran multiple sections from business to entertainment, political news and commentaries dominated its coverage. The organisation housed a group of reporters who produced the bulk of its leading domestic news content. To complement the in-house reporters, it also reproduced syndicated material from other established mainstream news organisations like Bernama, Reuters, and Associated Press.

Columnists and contributors

The news portal maintained a large roster of columnists from diverse backgrounds. The majority of columnists however did not share the same political positions as Barisan Nasional. Several of the more notable columnists were the member of the Selangor state assemblyman and political secretary to the Selangor Menteri Besar Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Democratic Action Party (DAP) Member of Parliament Liew Chin Tong, National Trust Party (Malaysia) (AMANAH) MP Khalid Abdul Samad, UMNO MP Nur Jazlan Mohamed and a former Special Officer to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Ziad Razak.[12] Apart from the regular columnists, the news portal published letters from readers as well as blog entries.[13]


In 2009, the news portal published two books. Both compiled selected writings from its columnists.


On 12 August 2015, TMI was sued by then Menteri Besar of Selangor, Khalid Ibrahim for publishing defamatory articles claiming that he had partaken in a dubious out-of-court settlement with Bank Islam. Khalid is seeking an injunction and retraction of the articles published on 24 July, in addition to an undisclosed amount in damages.[14][15][16][17][18] The hearing for the case was set for 2 June 2015.[19]

On 30 January 2015, the news portal, together with Lim Guan Eng and Malaysiakini, was sued by Penang United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) secretary, Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir, Maison Height Sdn Bhd and Penang Barisan Nasional secretary Datuk Omar Faudzar[20] for publishing defamatory articles on the alleged sale of Malay lands for profit. In the statement of claim, the plaintiffs referred to an article written by Lim titled "Pembohongan Umno" (Umno's Lies), which was published in The Malaysian Insider on 27 November 2014, and another article titled "Stop Spreading Lies About Penang Government, Guan Eng Tells Umno”[21] which was also published by the same news portal on 27 November. The plaintiffs stated that Lim, Mkini, and Gan had published another article “Umno Made Profits by Selling Malay Kampungs”, containing defamatory words in Malaysiakini.[22][23][24]

Accusations of bias, publishing false news and lack of credibility

UMNO accused the TMI of biased reporting. The party barred the news as well as several online news organisations from covering its general assembly held in Kuala Lumpur in 2009.[25]

On 31 May 2011, the news portal published an article that contained defamatory words against former Malaysia Airlines (MAS) chairman, Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli. Three months later, the news portal published a public apology to him.[26][27][28] However, he did not find the apology sufficient and filled a legal suit on 18 August in Kuala Lumpur Civil Court for RM 200 million.[29][30] The suit was settled out of court a month later.[31][32][33]

On 19 October 2013, TMI issued an apology to Menteri Besar of Kedah, Dato' Seri Mukhriz bin Mahathir over its report on Mukhriz' use of money during the 2013 UMNO election.[34][35]

On 4 June 2014, TMI published a news story that alleged Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) "raided" a Hindu wedding ceremony, as the result of a complaint that said a Muslim woman was marrying a Hindu.[36] A week later, Zarinah Abdul Majid, the Muslim woman, and MAIS, the head body of Jais, produced a statement that refuted The Malaysian Insider report and accused it of sensationalising the news and producing disharmony among the communities. Zarinah said that Jais had in fact done the investigation in a proper manner with respect for her, her family and her guest.[37]

On 23 January 2015, an article regarding the appointment of University of Malaya (UM) Vice-Chancellor was made public. The article suggested the UM Vice-Chancellor for Students Affairs would have been replaced for being "weak and pro-opposition".[38] The Vice-Chancellor, Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof, debunked the news in a Facebook post, in which she clarified that her portfolio had expired and she would not be replaced for the reasons stated in the article.[39] On 7 March 2015, a superimposed photo of demonstrators deemed to be staged in front PAS headquarters was published. The demonstrators in the photo demanded that PAS president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang step down. PAS Chief of Information, Datuk Mahfuz Omar demanded an apology from the news portal for publishing a fake photo.[40] A day later, the news portal published a public apology.[41][42] On 25 March 2015, the news portal published an article that alleged the Conference of Rulers did not approve the proposal by Kelantan state's government to enforce hudud in the state. The news was later swiftly denied by Kelantan Chief Secretary on Hudud, Takiyuddin Hassan.[43][44] This news led Keeper of the Rulers' Seal to file a police report,[45] resulting in the arrest of three editors by Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) with proof from MCMC.[46][47][48][49][50][51] On 12 July 2015, the news portal published an unverified report of Citizens For Accountable Governance Malaysia (CAGM) claiming that thousands of ringgit were plumed down from the Prime Minister of Malaysia's AmBank account to a Barisan Nasional bank account prior the 2013 Malaysia general election.[52] Three days later, a blog post claimed to be by CAGM revealed that the news was fake. The group claimed that Md Zainal Abidin, the lawyer who signed the statutory declaration (SD) did not exist.[53] Their actions were fueled by their desire to "...mak[e] a social experiment...where they become famous due to (news) editors not checking their facts right."[54][55][56]

See also


  1. Alexa Archived 9 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 24 June 2009.
  2. Accessed 24 June 2009.
  3. "MCMC blocks The Malaysian Insider". New Straits Times. 25 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  4. "The Malaysian Insider news portal blocked by government". Channel NewsAsia. 25 February 2016. Archived from the original on 26 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  5. "TMI block shows Putrajaya fears free media". Malaysiakini. 25 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  6. "TMI banned on grounds of 'national security'". The Malaysian Insider. 25 February 2016. Archived from the original on 26 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  7. "MCMC: TMI has been blocked". The Star (Malaysia). 25 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  8. Vantoultra Ngui (14 March 2016). "Malaysian Insider to Close After Government Blocked It Following 1MDB Coverage". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  9. Teoh, Shannon (15 March 2016). "Malaysian Insider shuts down after 8 years". The Straits Times. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  10. "The Malaysian Insider to lose many key staff to rival". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  11. "About Us". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 24 April 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  12. "Opinion". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 15 July 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  13. "Breaking Views". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 22 July 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  14. "Isu MB: Khalid fail saman Malaysian Insider". 12 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  15. "Selangor MB sues The Malaysian Insider over Bank Islam deal allegation". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  16. "Khalid saman portal berita Malaysian Insider". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  17. "Khalid sues Malaysian Insider over Selangor MB issue". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  18. "Khalid sues The Malaysian Insider over alleged defamatory articles - Nation - The Star Online". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  19. "Bicara kes saman Khalid terhadap The Malaysian Insider pada 2 Jun 2015". Archived from the original on 19 September 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  20. "Penang Umno leaders and housing developer sue Guan Eng and news portals". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  21. "BERNAMA - Lim Guan Eng, Malaysian Insider, MalaysiaKini Sued". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  22. "Guan Eng sued over Balik Pulau land acquisition issue". NST Online. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  23. "Umno division chiefs sue Lim Guan Eng, news portals". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  24. "Penang Umno leaders and housing developer sue Guan Eng and news portals". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  25. Deborah Loh. "Internet media barred from Umno (Updated 6.40pm)". The Nutgraph. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
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  27. "The Malaysian Insider mohon maaf kepada Tajuddin Ramli". Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  28. "MACC clears A-G of graft allegations". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  29. "Tajudin saman Malaysian Insider RM200 juta". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  30. "Tajudin fail saman RM200j terhadap Malaysian Insider". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  31. "Kes Saman Bekas Pengerusi MAS Terhadap The Malaysian Insider Selesai Luar Mahkamah". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  32. "Saman RM200j Tajudin selesai luar mahkamah". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  33. "Pihak dalam kes Tajudin saman Malaysian Insider mahu penyelesaian di luar mahkamah". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  34. "Apology to Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir – The Malaysian Insider". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  35. "The Malaysian Insider mohon maaf kepada Mukhriz Mahathir". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  36. "Muslim woman who married a Hindu refuses to back down". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  37. "MAIS-Zarina berdamai, saling puji-memuji". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  38. "Dua TNC UM ditukar kerana tidak tegas dan pro Pakatan, kata sumber". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  39. "Timeline Photos - Profesor Datuk Dr. Rohana Yusof - Facebook". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  40. azmi. "PAS desak The Malaysian Insider mohon maaf". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  41. "PAS desak The Malaysian Insider mohon maaf". Portal Islam dan Melayu. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  42. "Permohonan maaf kepada PAS – The Malaysian Insider". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  43. "Majlis Raja-Raja tidak terlibat pindaan hudud Kelantan". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  44. "Tindakan TMI siar laporan berkaitan Majlis Raja-Raja bersifat provokasi - Shabery". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  45. "Hudud: Pejabat Penyimpan Mohor Besar Raja-Raja buat laporan polis". BH Online. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  46. "TMI, kalau berani siar fitnah, beranilah tanggung akibatnya - Syed Ali". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
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  48. Rakyat News. "3 Editor The Malaysian Insider Ditahan". Rakyat News. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  49. "Nazri: Laporan bohong, wajar tangkap wartawan". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  50. "Khairy: Laporan TMI isu hudud 'biadap'". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  51. "Malaysian Insider diserbu SKMM". The Rakyat Post BM Version. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  52. "Jutaan dari akaun Ambank Najib disalur ke BN pada PRU13, kata CAGM". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  53. "'CAGM' fabricates SD of AmBank officer". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  54. "Cerita pemecatan kakitangan Ambank palsu, kata CAGM". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  55. "Group behind 'SD' on Najib's AmBank account now claims hoax". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  56. Amree. "Terbongkar Portal Sensasi Sebar Berita Palsu". MYNEWSHUB. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
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