Internet Censorship Update: Internet Censorship Monitoring and Testing during 2023 Malaysia State Elections - Findings

Sinar Project conducted monitoring of internet censorship during the recent state elections in Malaysia and found that key websites were accessible. A few websites on the election monitoring list however were detected as blocked.

17th August 2023The Malaysian State Elections was held on last Saturday, 12th of August 2023, involving six (6) states: six (6) states: Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu, Kelantan and Pulau Pinang. Sinar Project conducted a monitoring of internet censorship during the elections period, covering measurements from 7 August to 13 August 2023. 

In an earlier election censorshp update report, three (3) domains were confirmed blocked:, and

During the election period, blocking has been detected and confirmed for another 2 domains i.e. and, bringing the total to 5 domains blocked, out of the 47 URLs collected for monitoring and testing.

In the previous GE15 elections in 2022, no significant blockings were found, whereas in the GE14 elections in 2018, election results website by independent news organization Malaysiakini, was found blocked vs 

In general, URL and domain are interchangeable terms used to refer to a website. In the OONI test list, full URLs are input in the probe to be tested for censorship, similar to an URL starting with “https” or “http” in a browser. The censorship can either be tampering of DNS, HTTP or other types of censorship. Depending on the method, the blocking can either be at the URL or domain level. However when analyzing results on OONI, the reader needs to note that there are differences in the numbers with respect to the specific URL or domain.
URL Domain
In Malaysia, only DNS tampering has been used by MCMC to block websites. Hence the analysis can be simplified at the domain level.At the domain level, more than one domain name can be referred to a single website. The Bersih website has been blocked since 2016 via 2 domains: ‘’ and ‘’. However, recently ‘’ has been found unblocked on all ISPs in Malaysia. So the website is currently accessible for users if they entered ‘ but may find it inaccessible if they bookmarked, entered or accessed via a link that was using ‘‘.
Testing on OONI shows that is still being blocked as at time of writing.


The monitoring and testing was done using Open Observervatory for Network Interference (OONI) tools. The websites collected for the test list consist of news and media sites, websites of political parties and politicians, official Election Commission websites and election monitoring sites.

The table below details the 5 blocked websites during the election period:


ISPs implementing the blocking

Starting date of blocking

Detailed data from OONI

  1. TIME (AS9930)
  2. TM (AS4788)
  3. U Mobile (AS38466) 
  4. YTL (AS45960)
  5. Maxis (AS9534)
  6. U Mobile (AS38466) 
  7. YTL (AS45960)

7 August 2023

OONI Explorer Link

  1. Maxis (AS9534)
  2. TM (AS4788)
  3. U Mobile (AS38466) 
  4. YTL (AS45960)

25 July 2023

OONI Explorer Link

  1. TIME (AS9930)
  2. U Mobile (AS38466) 
  3. YTL (AS45960)

18 May 2021

OONI Explorer Link 

  1. Digi (AS4818)

24 July 2023

(Was also blocked on other networks in June 2023, but unblocked shortly after)

OONI Explorer Link

  1. Celcom (AS10030)
  2. TM (AS4788)
  3. Digi (AS4818)
  4. Maxis AS9534)

2 July 2023

(Was also blocked before GE15 in November 2022)

OONI Explorer Link

These test measurements from OONI confirmed that a few Malaysian ISPs (internet service providers) were implementing what appears to be a Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) mandated blocking of a website. All of these 5 websites had been found blocked prior to the election period.


The data on OONI was collected through the OONI Probe App by Sinar Project and various volunteers. A confirmed blocking on OONI shows that there has been DNS blocking on the website whereby the DNS had been tampered to redirect to MCMC’s IP address: A block notice stating that ‘this website is not available in Malaysia as it violates national law’ has been detected on this address since 7 August.


Additionally, it was also found that the testing of the Election Commission Official Dashboard website ( on the OONI Probe resulted in a significant number of failures. Upon further investigation, it was found that the website’s TLS certification may have been misconfigured. However, this did not affect accessibility to the website using popular browsers such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox. 


Source: OONI Explorer

Call for contributors

For the internet users who are interested in contributing, you may do so by:

  • Testing: You may test on various platforms, both on Mobile (iOS and Android) and Desktop, including on the CLI on Linux platforms. The domains you test can be either randomly selected from the Citizenlab Test Lists or custom test lists specific to your needs.
  • Contribute to the test lists: You can contribute to the test lists on GitHub or on OONI.
  • Translate the OONI Probe to your local language here.
  • Participate in community discussions on the OONI’s Slack channel.
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