21 January 2003
Malaysia’s only independent online daily, malaysiakini, resumed publication 10 hours after the site was temporarily disabled due to a police operation yesterday. A report on the police investigation and a press statement were posted at about 10.30pm.
Pending the return of computer equipment taken away during the raid, the site will continue to update its news section as its main priority. Readers may continue to contribute letters via the regular e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
A 12-man team from the Dang Wangi district police station, which conducted the raid at the malaysiakini premises in Bangsar Utama from 12.30pm, seized 15 CPUs and four servers for investigation into a complaint of alleged sedition.
They were acting on a report lodged by Umno Youth on Jan 17, referring to a letter posted on malaysiakini on Jan 9.
In its police report, Umno Youth alleged that the contents had questioned Malay privileges and contained “false allegations” about the government’s treatment of other races and Orang Asli. It further claimed that the writer had linked Umno Youth with white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan of the US.
Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan has refused to disclose the identity of the author of the letter, citing readers’ right to freedom of expression as well as journalistic ethics on the protection of confidentiality of sources.
He was called in to give a statement at the Dang Wangi police station at 11am today.
While yesterday’s incident drew local media coverage, several reports erroneously referred to the material that had been posted as an “article”.
Malaysiakini would like to draw the media’s attention to the distinction between an article and a letter. While an article originates from malaysiakini’s own sources or contributors, a letter is a voluntary form of expression from readers.
In this respect, the site provides readers with a free forum for opinion, comment and free exchange of ideas subject only to legal limitations.
Malaysiakini will continue to uphold its convictions on the freedom of expression and press freedom, given the government’s repeated pledge that there will be no censorship of Internet content in line with creation of the Multimedia Super Corridor, Malaysia’s answer to Silicon Valley.
For further information, contact:
Tel: (603) 2283 5567
Fax: (603) 2289 2579