KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Jahabar Sadiq, the former editor of defunct news portal The Malaysian Insider (TMI), has been challenged by his former financiers today to reveal the source of funds for his new outfit The Malaysian Insight.
Ho Kay Tat, the publisher of The Edge Media Group that owned TMI before shutting it down in March last year, said the revelation is needed for the sake of transparency and public interest.
“I hope Mr Jahabar has now found better financiers than us for The Malaysian Insight. He has said that his financial sources are private equity, businessmen and loans.
“For transparency and in the public interest, Mr Jahabar should provide their names and not let the matter be shrouded in mystery,” Ho said in a letter to Singapore’s daily The Straits Times.
Ho also denied that his company had closed TMI “on the first sight of trouble,” explaining that the site was costing it RM500,000 a month and was no longer sustainable.
“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,” Ho said.
Last week, Jahabar said the portal will go online sometime this month “as a free site before introducing a paywall sometime down the line”.
He refused, however, to disclose the source of his funding.
“It has taken me 10 months to convince some private equity and businessmen to give me a loan of sorts to do this,” Jahabar was quoted as saying in the report.
Last year, The Edge Media Group decided to terminate TMI, some eight years after the news portal was started in 2008.
Jahabar had said The Edge Media Group’s decision to close the news portal was made for commercial reasons.
Putrajaya had previously blocked access to TMI, with Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak alleging that the news portal had caused public “confusion” in an article quoting an unnamed source from a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission advisory panel.