Another prominent website blocked as suspicion swirls over govt internet censorship

Malaysia Today, run by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, has been inaccessible for users using several local ISPs.


One of Malaysia’s most prominent political commentators has slammed the minister in charge of the internet after access to his website was discreetly restricted in a manner similar to the recent 48-hour block slapped on news site MalaysiaNow.

Raja Petra Kamarudin, who has been running the Malaysia Today website for more than a decade, said Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil was a hypocrite.

“When in the opposition, he was shouting about freedom of speech. When in government, he blocks Malaysia Today,” he said in the latest censure of Fahmi, who in recent months has attacked media outlets and threatened action against government critics.

Raja Petra, who fled Malaysia to escape arrest under the draconian Internal Security Act in 2009, told MalaysiaNow he noticed that his website could not be accessed by a large section of readers some time during the middle of last month.

Tests on global internet censorship measuring site Ooni confirmed that access to Malaysia Today has been blocked for users of at least two ISPs in Malaysia – Maxis and Celcom.

Raja Petra has since told his readers to install tools that can bypass the block.

But as had happened with MalaysiaNow last week, he said there had been no word from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the agency under Fahmi’s ministry empowered to block “undesirable” websites.

“We cannot be 100% sure as the block was never officially announced by MCMC,” he said, adding that it had reduced visitors by some 70%.

Last week, access to MalaysiaNow was blocked on several major ISPs, only to be lifted some 48 hours later after condemnation from activists, journalists, and politicians.

It was believed to be the first website with media credentials from the Information Department subjected to a block since 2016, when news portal The Malaysian Insider was made inaccessible by MCMC weeks before its eventual closure.

Fahmi, who has denied any role in the block, has yet to provide an explanation of what led a number ISPs to deny access to MalaysiaNow at the same time.