The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has blocked Sarawakian Watchdog Sarawak Report on grounds that the site threatens national security. MCMC posted a notice to its Facebook page clarifying why the action was taken, although it also noted that the blocks are only in place until investigations into its activities are complete.
The Sarawak Report has recently been the main source of information concerning the 1MDB debacle; with the site being responsible for leaking documents about the supposed corruption in several deals concerning the government-backed corporation. It had operated with little fanfare until recently, when its report about 1MDB and the Prime Minister was backed up by a similar report from the Wall Street Journal.
MCMC has blocked the website under Sections 211 and 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which prevents the provision of content that is false or offensive over a communications network. If charged and convicted of breaching the provisions of the Act, The Sarawak Report could potentially face a fine of up to RM50,000 or one year imprisonment for its editors. However, no formal charges have been brought forward as of yet and it does not appear that the MCMC is preparing to act beyond simply blocking access to the site.
A scathing response from The Sarawak Report on its Facebook page called out the MCMC for blocking access to its content, and has promised that the organisation will continue to publish content concerning the 1MDB. The organisation has also informed its readers that the site is accessible through TOR or changing DNS providers.
Internet blocks are becoming increasingly common in Asia, especially with countries that attempt to exert a tight control over the media. Traditionally, this has concerned China and its notorious Great Firewall of China; which blocks a large number of foreign news media, as well as monitors all internet communications within the country.