Selangor exco men face daunting task unmasking blog

Written by Lam Jian Wyn and Azalea Joy Lee, The Edge 

Two Selangor state executive councillors, accused of alleged misappropriation of state funds by the blog (Truth for Teoh Beng Hock), face a daunting task to uncover the person or persons behind the blog.

Teoh, who fell to his death from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) building in Shah Alam on July 16, had been the political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah.

The blog accused Ean Yong and his colleague Ronnie Liu of allegedly misusing state allocations and also put up scanned images of what it claims are authentic lists of projects and hand-written calculations detailing the breakdown of allocations for various people and organisations.

Ean Yong has lodged a police report against the blog, and is considering filing a report with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

Liu, who is also Pandamaran state assemblyman, admits that nothing can be done unless the people behind the blog are revealed.

“We cannot do anything, unless if the police or MCMC help us to track down their email or Internet protocol address, or whatever it is, with their technology, or whatever other methods that they have,” he says.

A visit to the  blog reveals that its author uses the pseudonym 4tbh — and the blog's complete profile yields no personal or identifying information. There are also no contact details.

However, even with the availability of an e-mail address, it would be difficult to determine the geographical origins of the address and, by default, the location of the registrant, simply because of the domain names used by international web-based email service providers such as Google, Hotmail and Yahoo!.

“For now, we can only rebut through our own channels, such as my own blog. I feel that some of the images were taken from my blog and doctored. Anybody can do that,” Liu adds.

When asked about taking legal action against other bloggers who have linked to "Truth for Teoh Beng Hock", he says he is waiting for his lawyers to advise him. “I do not know if it is enough to prove malicious intent just by linking to the blog, but it is certainly enough to spread the falsehood. I’ll have to wait for my lawyers to get back to me on that,” he said.

Section 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 stipulates that “no content applications service provider, or other person using a content applications service, shall provide content which is indecent, obscene, false, menacing, or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person”, and any party who contravenes this shall be, upon conviction, liable to a fine of not more than RM50,000 or a jail term no longer than a year or both. In addition, the person will also be liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for every day or part of a day during which the offence is continued after conviction.

Meanwhile, Section 69(1) of the Act says, “The Commission may conduct an investigation on a matter referred to in section 68 upon a written complaint by a person.” Furthermore, Section 69(3) says that if a person wishes to file a complaint and needs assistance in formulating or producing the complaint in writing, the Commission has to “take reasonable steps to provide assistance to the person”.

However, there is a caveat. The Act only provides the relevant services or facilities under the Act within Malaysia. is hosted on Blogger, which is owned by US-based Google.

Blogger’s terms of service contains the following:

"By their very nature, and may carry offensive, harmful, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate material, or in some cases, postings that have been mislabeled or are otherwise deceptive. We expect that you will use caution and common sense and exercise proper judgment when using and Google does not endorse, support, represent or guarantee the truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of any communications posted via the Service or endorse any opinions expressed via the Service. You acknowledge that any reliance on material posted via the Service will be at your own risk."

The process of registering for a blog on Blogger is fairly simple; all that is needed is an existing email address. Users may elect to just display their user name on their profile, as in the case of 4tbh, or not make their profile available for viewing at all.