The Malaysian Insider
|Founded||25 February 2008|
|Headquarters||Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
The Malaysian Insider (also known as TMI, The Insider, or Malay Ins Ins) is a bilingual news site popular in Malaysia. It has been consistently ranked as one of the 100 most popular websites in the country with a strong following in Singapore. Alexa ranked The Insider as the 57th most popular website in Malaysia in June 2009. Compete.com estimated that almost 19,000 unique visitors visited the website in April 2009.
The Malaysian Insider was established by the Png Hong Kwang and Sreedhar Subramaniam. Png is a journalist while Subramaniam is the former chief operating officer of the free-to-air Malaysian television channel ntv7.
TMI was started in December 2007 by a group of businessmen and journalists close to then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as a counterbalance against MalaysiaKini, which was deemed to be unfriendly to the Barisan Nasional (BN).
But after Abdullah stepped down in 2009, the group stopped the financing and the TMI top management, after talking to several people, eventually got funding with help from a 30-something Penang-born businessman with close ties to the current BN leadership.
The Insider aims to report "unvarnished take on events and personalities in Malaysia".
The editorial generally maintains a critical stance against both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat, although it has lately leaned more towards Pakatan Rakyat. During the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis in which Barisan Nasional managed to topple the Pakatan Rakyat state government, frequent hard-hitting editorial pieces calling for the dissolution of the state assembly were published.
While the news site runs multiple sections from business to entertainment, political news and commentaries dominate attention.
The organisation houses a group of reporters who produce the bulk of its leading domestic new news content. To complement the in-house reporters, The Insider reproduces syndicated material from other established mainstream news organisations like Bernama, Reuters and Associated Press.
Columnists and contributors
The Insider maintains a large roster of columnists from diverse background. Nevertheless, the majority of the columnists do not share the same political positions as Barisan Nasional. Several of the more notable columnists are the member of the Selangor state assemblyman and political secretary to the Selangor Menteri Besar Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, DAP Member of Parliament Liew Chin Tong, PAS MP Khalid Abdul Samad, UMNO MP Nur Jazlan Mohamed and a former Special Officer to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Ziad Razak.
In 2009, The Insider published two books. Both compiled selected writings of its columnists.
On 12 August 2015, TMI were sued by then Menteri Besar of Selangor, Khalid Ibrahim for publishing defamatory article regarding his claiming 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. The hearing of the case have been set at 2 June 2015.
On 30 January 2015, the news portal, together with Lim Guan Eng and Malaysiakini were sued by Penang UMNO secretary, Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir, Maison Height Sdn Bhd and Penang Barisan Nasional secretary Datuk Omar Faudzar for making defamatory article 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” which was also published in the same news portal on 27 November. The plaintiffs stated that Lim, Mkini and Gan had caused the publication of another article “Umno made profits by selling Malay Kampungs”, containing defamatory words in Malaysiakini.
Accusations of bias
UMNO accused The Insider of biased reporting. The party barred The Insider as well as several online news organisations from covering its general assembly held in Kuala Lumpur in 2009.
The Malaysia Insider have an extensive records of publishing faked and unverified news throughout its publications. On 31 May 2011, the news portal publish an article that contain defamatory words towards former MAS chairman, Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli. Three months later, the news portal publish a public apology to Tajudin. However, the apology were seen not enough by him when he filled a legal sue on 18 August in Kuala Lumpur Civil Court for RM 200 million. The suit were settled out of court a month later.
On 7 March 2015, a superimposed photo of demonstrators deemed to be staged in front PAS headquarters were published. The demonstrators, in the photo have demanded PAS president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to step down. PAS Chief of Information, Datuk Mahfuz Omar demanded an apology from the news portal for publishing a fake photo. A day later, the news portal publish a public apology.
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 were later swiftly denied by Kelantan Chief Secretary on Hudud, Takiyuddin Hassan. This news led Keeper of the Rulers' Seal to make a police report and arrest of three editors of TMI by the police and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
On 12 July 2015, the news portal published an unverified news of Citizens For Accountable Governance Malaysia (CAGM) claiming that thousands of ringgit were plumed down from Prime Minister of Malaysia AmBank account to Barisan Nasional bank account prior the 2013 Malaysia general election. Three days later, a blog post claimed to be belong to CAGM revealed that the news were fake. The group claimed that Md Zainal Abidin, the lawyer that signed the statutory declaration (SD) were not even existed. Their action were fueled by their desire of "...making a social experiment...where them become famous due to (news) editors not checking their facts right."
On 4 June 2014, TMI publish a news that alleged Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) "raided" a Hindu believer wedding ceremony, Zarinah Abdul Majid's in Petaling Jaya, due to a complaint that said she's a Muslim. A week later, she and MAIS, the head body of Jais, produced a statement that refute TMI action of trying to sensationalised the news and produce disharmony among the communities. Zarinah said that Jais have in fact, done the investigation in a proper manner and respect towards her, her family and her guest.
On 23 January 2015, an article regarding the appointment of University of Malaya (UM) Vice Chancellor were made public. The article suggest the UM Vice Chancellor for Students Affairs will been replaced due to being "weak and pro-opposition". Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof, the Vice Chancellor, debunk the news in a Facebook post, which she clarify that her portfolio have expired and she were not been replaced due to those reasons.
- Alexa. Accessed 24 June 2009.
- Compete.com. Accessed 24 June 2009.
- "About Us". The Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
- "Opinion". The Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- "Breaking Views". The Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- Deborah Loh. "Internet media barred from Umno (Updated 6.40pm)". The Nutgraph. Retrieved 24 June 2009.