More than 4.3 million unique users visited Malaysiakini on election night on 5 May. Of these, three million accessed the live report page on its website and another 1.3 million accessed it through the mobile version.
A further 1.3 million users visited Malaysiakini’s undi.info, which provided information on seats and candidates, that night. At the height of the vote count, Malaysiakini’s readership hit 500,000 users per minute, according to Google Analytics.
Despite limited interference in the run-up to the election, Malaysiakini did not face any restrictions from major internet service providers on the night.
Access to videos published by Malaysiakini on KiniTV had been denied to local viewers in the days before the election.
Two independent investigations showed that viewers were unable to access certain KiniTV videos on YouTube servers, which were likely to be hosted by TMnet. The videos could be watched via some other ISPs.
The apparent censorship of KiniTV followed weeks of cyberattacks on both Malaysiakini.com and KiniTV.com. Unlike several previous attacks carried out to coincide with major political events, such as the Bersih 3.0 rally, these debilitating attacks were not able to bring down the two websites due to Malaysiakini’s extensive counter-planning. The site’s Twitter account was also hacked.
Malaysiakini CEO Premesh Chandran, who was particularly concerned that the site would be blocked on election night, warned ISPs to serve their customers without political interference. Access to Malaysiakini through several Malaysian ISPs was also “restricted” since the start of the election campaign. As a result, many visitors to the site found their connection was intermittently dropped.