On the 9th of May 2018, Malaysia’s 14th General Election Day, MCMC the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission issued a request to major Internet Service Providers(ISPs) to comply with with Section 263(2) of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998.
Below is a copy of the MCMC document, published by MalayMail:
Section 263 (2) states:
2) A licensee shall, upon written request by the Commission or any other authority,assist the Commission or other authority as far as reasonably necessary in preventing the commission or attempted commission of an offence under any written law of Malaysia or otherwise in enforcing the laws of Malaysia, including, but not limited to, the protection of the public revenue and preservation of national security.
According to MCMC, the following websites may affect National Stability, Public Order & Harmony, and Economic Stability:
All three websites above are owned by Malaysiakini.
Below is a full page screenshot of http://live.undi.info:
Which part of the page affects “National Stability, Public Order & Harmony, and Economic Stability”?
Did MCMC asked Malaysiakini to remove any contents on these websites that are against Section 263(2) of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998?
Did MCMC abused its powers?
MCMC’s Network Media Management Department under its Digital Surveillance Division also sighted by Malay Mail, the directive to block the three sites came at 9.13pm of the polling day.
The emails were sent to not just TM (and its subsidiary Webe) and Maxis, who were found censoring those sites by watchdog Sinar Project, but also to other ISPs such as Celcom, Digi, YTL (which runs Yes), TIME, Mykris, Redtone, Aries Telecoms, and Extreme Broadband.
Other companies that received the email also included government IT services firm HeiTech Padu Bhd, data centres AIMS and Hitachi Sunway Information Systems, and network services firm Global Transit Communications Sdn Bhd.
A group called Sinar Project claims Telekom Malaysia and Maxis have blocked access to election result site live.undi.info on GE14 Polling Day. Apparently Celcom has also implemented the block on Malaysia Election Day.
Sinar Project claims that first measured time of censorship was 9:55pm on TMNet shortly before official election updates from Elections Commission and other news sources stopped from around 11pm.
In my opinion, Telekom Malaysia, Maxis and Celcom did not need to comply to the MCMC directive immediately since it was a public holiday on the 9th of May until 11 of May which falls on Friday. Officially, the ISPs including TM, Maxis and Celcom could only block these MalaysiaKini websites on the 14th of May 2018, which is 4 days later.
However the intelligent people at TM, Maxis and Celcom implemented the block within 30min to 35min upon receiving the request from MCMC.
MalayMail reported that the censorship took place before official results showed that the Barisan Nasional coalition had failed to retain a simple majority of parliamentary seats required to form government.
The release of official results from the Election Commission was also halted around the same time that night, until Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that Pakatan Harapan had won the majority to form the federal government around midnight.
During this period, on 9th of May, the election in Malaysia was generally peaceful. Even PDRM said the post-GE14 situation is so far under control. Perhaps there was no order in the MCMC building on the night of election day?
On the same day, May 9th, MCMC revoked the directive in another email sent at 11.15pm asking the ISPs to unblock the MalaysiaKini websites. No contents were removed from MalaysiaKini websites during this period.
Did MCMC abused its powers as a regulator, if yes then why?
P.s Can’t wait for Gobind Singh Deo as the new Communications and Multimedia Minister. I hope that MCMC will become more transparent after some the changes implemented here, starting with Mazlan Ismail, the COO of MCMC.