KUALA LUMPUR: Two companies and three others are seeking RM100 million in compensation from an online news portal over an article on a bidding for the government fuel subsidy rationalisation programme.

Fuelsubs House Sdn Bhd (FHSB), its principal owners Datuk Razali Naina Merican and Habibul Rahman Kadir Shah, Datasonic Group Bhd and its deputy managing director Chew Ben Ben, are seeking the amount from The Malaysian Insider Sdn Bhd (TMI) for alleged defamation via the July 15 online article “UMNO-linked firm front runner bidding to manage fuel subsidies”.

The parties, according to a letter of demand to TMI dated yesterday through their lawyers Shafee & Co, claimed that the article was false and malicious.

They claimed their good name and reputation were tarnished and that they were held in public ridicule, odium and contempt, and claimed their feedback was not sought.

They, in addition to seeking compensation, also want TMI to publish an unreserved apology in accordance with the parties’ approved context and format.

They want the apology to be carried by TMI’s online news portal “The Malaysian Insider”, local English dailies the New Straits Times and Star, Bahasa Malaysia newspaper Utusan Melayu, and Mandarin daily Sin Chew Jit Poh.

They would commence proceedings against TMI if it failed to pay the compensation and publish the apology within 14 days beginning yesterday.

TMI’s chief executive officer Jahabar Sadiq, who is also its editor, said he had not seen the letter of demand and declined comment.

FHSB, along with Datasonic and Pos Malaysia Bhd, as service providers, is bidding to manage the fuel subsidy rationalisation programme for the government.

A proposal by FHSB had successfully undergone rigorous assessment and scrutiny by the Economic Council and the Fiscal Policy Committee at separate meetings between March 26 and April 21 this year.