KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — the website at the centre of controversy over leaked documents on 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), is currently inaccessible from within Malaysia.
Visitors to the website are greeted by a placeholder informing readers that the page cannot be found, in a style similar to that normally used for sites that have been blocked by local Internet regulators.
The site is accessible, however, if visitors use domain name systems (DNS) other than those provided by local Internet service providers, further suggesting that the Sarawak Report unavailability may be intentional.
Attempts to ping the Sarawak Report website address return responses that states “mcmc-redirect.maxis.com.my”.
Internet access and services in Malaysia are regulated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
Sarawak Report founder Clare Rewcastle-Brown could not confirm if her website was in fact being barred here.
“I am just getting news that it is being blocked in Malaysia – not in UK. I am looking into it right now,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted to verify the outage.
The self-styled whistleblower website has in recent months been on an offensive against 1MDB, publishing a series of exposés on alleged mismanagement and irregularities at the state-owned firm and by related personalities.
This changed following the arrest of former PetroSaudi International executive Xavier Justo in Thailand, after it was revealed that the Swiss national provided leaked documents on the Middle Eastern firm’s deals with 1MDB.
Sarawak Report was implicated as among the recipients of the documents, which formed the basis of a number of its reports on 1MDB.
The website has also been accused of tampering with the documents, after Thai police who arrested Justo reportedly said that he did not alter these prior to sending the files to organisations and individuals who may not yet be named under Thai law.
This week, former Sarawak Tribune editor Lester Melanyi, a one-time associate of Rewcastle-Brown, accused the UK-based website of being part of a conspiracy to fabricate documents on 1MDB’s deals to discredit Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Rewcastle-Brown has denied the allegation.
Justo was arrested at his home in Thailand in June for alleged blackmail. He was allegedly the source of leaked documents on PSI’s US$1.2 billion joint venture with 1MDB that fell through in 2009.
Thai police on Thursday reportedly said the Swiss national has confessed to the crime and divulged further details including the identities of the 10 people he had sold the classified information.
1MDB has been hit with various accusations including allegedly transferring US$700 million via proxies to Najib’s personal accounts.
The firm is currently being investigated by at least half a dozen federal agencies and watchdogs.