The owner of news site The Malaysian Insider has decided to shut the publication down "for commercial reasons". It comes just weeks after the online portal was blocked by the government as part of a crackdown on critical coverage of the scandal-ridden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The site depends heavily on traffic from Malaysia and editor Jahabar Sadiq revealed that it had been losing money since the block was imposed, with advertisers refusing to buy ads. It also has a large social media following, with 227,000 Twitter followers and over 424,500 Facebook likes.

In a parting letter to its readers, editor Jahabar Sadiq said: "The Edge Media Group has decided to shut down The Malaysian Insider from midnight today, for commercial reasons."

He added: "We worked as impartial journalists to inform Malaysians and other readers so that they make informed decisions. We worked to make all voices heard in this marketplace of ideas. But our work in The Malaysian Insider has now come to an end in a Malaysia that more than ever requires more clarity, transparency and information."

The website's homepage shows a picture of the news team and a message reads: "Thank you Malaysia."

Kuala Lumpur stood by its decision to block access to the website as the furore around 1MDB continues to rage on. Last year, Sadiq was arrested on suspicion of sedition, but was released without charge.

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang blasted the government, saying that it was to blame for what he described as "another casualty in its long line of infamies".

In a statement he said: "To decent and thinking Malaysians, there can be no joy but immense sadness at the death of TMI, whose travails in the past eight years reflect the agonies and trials of Malaysia to become a normal democratic country." He added: "The battle for democracy, freedom, accountability and good governance must go on."

The Democratic Action Party (DAP) leader's sentiments were echoed by Sadiq, who defiantly said: "I won't put down my pen, I won't lay down my camera, I won't shut up and I won't be blinkered or turn a deaf ear to what goes on in Malaysia and the world. And I urge all of you to do the same."