Police Raid Independent Web Site Offices

KUALA LUMPUR, (Source: Reuters) — Malaysian police raided the offices of independent Web site Malaysiakini on Monday, days after ruling party activists accused it of sedition and inciting racial hatred.

The United Malays National Organisation’s youth wing reported Malaysiakini to the police after a letter carried on the Web site compared the party to a US race-hate group, the Ku Klux Klan.

The letter questioned Malaysia’s long-standing policy of granting special rights to the ethnic-Malay majority.

“They are removing all our CPUs (computers). They have crippled our editorial section,” news editor K. Kabilan told Reuters.

“They didn’t want to listen to whatever we said,” he added after police removed 15 personal computers from the newsroom.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

The letter could not be accessed from www.malaysiakini.com on Monday.

A Malaysiakini report quoted editor Steven Gan as saying the letter was neither seditious nor likely to provoke racial violence.

Journalists from Malaysiakini, launched in November 1999 and claiming a daily readership of 100,000, are denied press accreditation and are often barred from official news events.

Malaysia’s mainstream media is pro-government. Opposition politicians’ and parties’ views generally receive cursory or negative treatment.

A tough print and publications law as well as others covering libel and sedition, and a wide ranging definition of what constitutes an official secret, all serve to muffle public debate.

Last month, police arrested several people under the Internal Security Act, allowing indefinite detention without trial, for allegedly spreading false news by circulating an email claiming various Malaysian targets had been chosen for terror bombings.

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