Oleh: Fathi Aris Omar [emel: firstname.lastname@example.org]
MalaysiaKini floored by server breakdown
July 26, 2000 (Wednesday)
By Mary Anne Tan (dari akhbar dalam talian MSC
Upstart online newspaper MalaysiaKini which has been
garnering increasing numbers of "eyeballs" with its
fiercely independent approach to local news coverage
has been put temporarily out of service by the
unethical tactics of its US-based web hosting service.
Since Monday morning regular followers of
MalaysiaKini, which touts itself as an alternative
conduit for news, have been unable to access the web
site following the unexpected shut down of its server
which is located in Texas, USA.
MalaysiaKini business manager and co-founder Premesh
Chandran said that he and Steven Gan, managing editor
and co-founder, are working feverishly to resolve the
problem. They hope to have the online newspaper up and
running again by Thursday. Premesh said that
MalaysiaKini has purchased its own server for RM20,000
and in three or four weeks' time, it hopes to be able
to have two MalaysiaKini web sites (mirror sites) to
The two domains, the present www.MalaysiaKini.com and
the soon-to-be launched new domain
www.MalaysiaKini.com.my will enable Malaysians to
continue following the daily news coverage even if one
of them should go down. Premesh said the idea of
having two web sites is to divide the traffic load and
speed up access to the news content. He said that
having two web sites will also reduce the possibility
of MalaysiaKini being held "hostage" again by a
foreign web hosting company.
According to Premesh, MalaysiaKini's problem arose
after the web hosting company in Texas pulled the plug
on MalaysiaKini's server on Monday without any prior
"The US firm told us that traffic flowing to our site
was too heavy. We now have about 100,000 readers using
100 gigabytes a day and they said that that was
excessive. They said that we were entitled to free use
of the server for only up to 12 gigabytes and anything
above that was chargeable. They insisted that we pay
for the extra 90 gigabytes that we were using and
wanted us to fork over the additional money before
they allowed the server to become operational again,"
Premesh told MSCTimes.com.
Premesh added that MalaysiaKini has been paying the
firm regularly every month for the use of the server
but now the US firm insists that it be paid US$1,800
as excess charges and additional charges that could
add to a several hundred US dollars a day if
MalaysiaKini wants to continue using the server.
"Look, we're not rich. We can't afford to pay that
exorbitant sum and besides the US firm's demands are
unethical. MalaysiaKini has an agreement with the firm
for an unlimited monthly data transfer, which means we
can have an unlimited amount of traffic. We feel this
is illegal and totally unethical," he said.
Premesh said that when MalaysiaKini first started, it
had only 30,000 hits a day but in March when the
numbers shot up, the original server they used (also
in the US) could not cope and MalaysiaKini had to move
to the present Texas based server.
"We realized even then that we would need a server
that would allow for unlimited traffic. Now, however,
the US firm has changed rules midway and we feel we
are being held hostage because of their bad business
practice. This problem couldn't have come at a worse
time, when many Malaysians are very keen to keep
abreast of the ongoing investigations into the recent
arms heist in Sauk and the Al Ma'unah group," Premesh
"We plan to lodge a formal complaint with the US
embassy here but we don't have the finances to sue the
US firm. Meanwhile we are making plans to move
MalaysiaKini to another server outside the US," he
To avoid a recurrence of such hostage tactics,
MalaysiaKini plans to host its own server and would
have already done so if not for some unfortunate
"We had anticipated the heavy traffic might cause the
server to break down and wanted to be prepared for
that eventuality by having our own server. The server
was supposed to have been operational by July 1 but
there was a technical hitch," he said.
MalaysiaKini should go back online by Thursday, if all
goes well. - MSC Times.Com
CURRENT AFFAIRS > Malaysia
MALAYSIAKINI: VICTIM OF ITS OWN SUCCESS
July 26, 2000 (dari terbitan dalam talian Asia
Malaysia's fledgling Internet newspaper,
Malaysiakini.com, has fallen victim to its own
success. Its US-based server was shut down on Monday
due to "excessive traffic" into the website.
"Our web host informed us that its server is unable to
handle the heavy flow of traffic, and thus we are in
the process moving the website elsewhere. Malaysiakini
should be back online in the next few days,"
Malaysiakini said in an e-mail statement.
The online newspaper, launched last November,
apologized to its readers for the "unforeseen
problem." Before the hiccup, Malaysiakini (or Malaysia
Now) was getting more than 100,000 hits per day.
The inaccessibility of the Malaysiakini website had
prompted its readers to wonder if the site had been
barred by the government or hacked by outsiders.
However, Malaysiakini's explanation puts to rest
rumors and insinuations that Prime Minister Mahathir
Mohamad's government had finally cracked down on the
feisty online newspaper.
The daily, published in English and Malay, has proved
a thorn in the government's side with it independent
news analyses and no-holds-barred investigative
reporting drawing tens of thousands of visitors each
day. Alternative news media such as Malaysiakini has
thrived as the government-controlled mainstream media
lost much of its credibility with its one-sided
reporting in favor of the ruling National Front
Founded by former print media journalist Steven Gan,
the Malaysiakini site was launched on a US$100,000
(380,000 ringgit) capital channelled by the Southeast
Asian Press Alliance comprising associations of
Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. The
Bangkok-based association helps promote press freedom
in the region.
Malaysiakini has also won international recognition by
winning a journalism award from the Reporteur San
Fronterier, an organization which provides information
on reporters who write freely and are in jeopardy
because of threats by parties who would want them to
stop reporting objectively.
While the temporary shutdown is an inconvenience to
its loyal readers, it also marks Malaysiakini as
having outgrown its humble beginnings and is fast
developing into an online news organization to be
reckoned with. - Asiafeatures.com