15 March 2016
What I find odd about the demise of The Malaysian Insider is that only last week the people who owned it were excitedly looking at bids by parties keen to take over the news portal. One bidder I know told me that Tong Kooi Ong and Co had found his bid "too low". Ah, money is still king no matter which side of the political divide you are, isn't it? Just like the owners of The Rakyat Post, who are said to be asking for more money if relevant parties want the portal to be kept alive. But that's another story ... [read my earllier posting, What's the story, TRP?].
So from today, the Insider, never friendly towards Najib Razak ever since it was started by a group of people desperate to keep Pak Lah in power in 2008, is no more. The Najib-friendly (supposedly) Rakyat Post will follow suit, unless someone comes up with numbers that are not "too low".
But I'm guessing that we haven't seen the last of TMI. Expect it to be revived in the not-too-distant future, perhaps still with Jahabar Sadiq as head or maybe another will emerge. If there's anything to learn, it is the fact that the kind of journalism that TMI offers may not be credible enough to be commercially sustainable, not even by an established publishing house that created the lucrative The Edge, but what it does is bring in crazy amounts of on-line traffic. Like someone keeps telling me, "If you really want online traffic, just go out there and whack the government or Najib at will and you'll get hordes of people reading you, following you, liking you".
She's been there and done that, this person, and as the next general election draws nearer, she'll be proven right: there will be great (and instant) demand again for a portal that has the guts to go out there and "whack the government or Najib" ... which is what the Insider is - or was - and (if it comes back) will be again.
This blogger and Jahabar, 2014
We are all The Malaysian Insider - by Jahabar Sadiq