Last Wednesday evening was quite a tense as Malaysians are eager to find out who won GE14. Since the official numbers were not released as quickly as expected, many had relied on online sources to keep tabs on the results.
One of such sites is undi.info which was managed by MalaysiaKini. Halfway through the night, the site suddenly became inaccessible and it had to be accessed through an alternative link. According to SinarProject, they have discovered attempts to restrict access to undi.info for a couple of hours.
SinarProject had monitored a list of sites which include the EC, online news, social media platforms, political parties and NGO. They used OONI Probe which is an app that can identify if your connection is being censored or blocked, and it even monitors instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram. Tp monitor the specific sites, they used OONI Probe app together with OONI Run test urls.
The tests were conducted throughout the week leading to the elections and there were no incidents of censorship reported. However, on polling day, they find that several websites including Bersih and political party websites were intermittently inaccessible. This was likely due to heavy traffic or network related issues. It was noted that the EC voter check site on pengundi.spr.gov.my was up and running throughout the polling day.
In the evening, it was observed that TMnet & Maxis were blocking undi.info via DNS hijacking. For those who are not familiar, DNS is basically like a phonebook where it directs traffic to the right servers. They have recorded several instances where the DNS on the telco side were redirecting undi.info traffic to an IP address that’s used to show warning messages that a site is being blocked by the Government. The first incident was recorded at 9.55PM on TM’s network before the official EC results were released.
SinarProject is convinced there’s a clear evidence of censorship on TM and Maxis network on Wednesday night. You can read the full report here.
When Malay Mail reached out to Maxis, they have issued the following statement:
“Maxis would like to inform that any matters relating to the blocking of sites should be referred to the regulator, MCMC.”
“As a licensee, Maxis complies with legislation regulating ISPs”
If MCMC was behind the blockade, they would need to explain why undi.info was blocked. MCMC has blocked thousands of sites which are mostly pornographic, obscene and seditious in nature.
After the change of administration, it appears that Medium and Sarawak Report are now accessible in Malaysia. Both sites were blocked for two years under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 due to complaints of its articles on 1MDB.