The many attacks faced by Malaysiakini over the past 15 years have failed to break the resolve of the independent news portal, said its co-founder Steven Gan.
Speaking to over 1,000 supporters at Malaysiakini ’s 15th anniversary bash, Gan vowed the country’s first news website will continue its mission to tell the "truth to power".
He likened Malaysiakini to “pesky schoolkids” who keep poking the bully in the eye and refuse to go away.
“And we don’t plan to go away. Not now, not ever. With your support, we intend to be around for a long time to come - to continue our task to hold the people that you have elected accountable.”
When Gan was about to begin his speech, the sound of a 56K modem was heard through the speakers.
“That brings back memories, doesn’t it?” grinned Gan, who is also Malaysiakini editor-in-chief.
“It was through the 56K modem that Malaysiakini reached out to the rest of the world. Today, we have data speed 400 times faster than this humble modem.
“Indeed, it was a different world then. (Then premier) Mahathir Mohamad was in power. Citizens were in morbid fear of the Internal Security Act (ISA).
"Politics was discussed in hushed tones. Special Branch police were everywhere.
“There were no blogs, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. All we had then was mobile phones the size of a brick – and Malaysiakini .”
Black magic attack
Gan said over the past 15 years, Malaysiakini has covered two sodomy trials, three prime ministers, four general elections, countless by-elections, and had seen the arrest of two of its journalists.
“We were declared traitors by one prime minister, Mahathir, and sued by another, (present PM) Najib Razak.
"We faced debilitating cyber attacks, were kicked out of press conferences time and time again, and once raided by the police where 19 of our computers taken away.
“And when all these attacks failed to break our resolve, they even resorted to black magic by splashing red paint and leaving a half-dead duck at our doorsteps.
“By the way, the duck – like Malaysiakini - is alive and well,” quipped Gan.
At the event, Malaysiakini introduced its 70-strong team to the crowd.
Gan also took the opportunity to hail the thousands of Malaysiakini commenters who share their views in the subscribers’ forum.
“I’m afraid I will not do justice to all, as there are too many of them for me to acknowledge, but allow me to name a few of the regulars - Pemerhati, Ferdtan, Swipenter, Quigonbond, Mushiro, Kim Quek, Jiminy Qrikert, Gerard Lourdesamy, Oriole, Odysseus, Proarte, CQ Muar, Ipohcrite, Vijay47, Hplooi – all strange-sounding names, but active participants in our comment pages.”
The event today also saw the launch of Malaysiakini 's new office @Kini in Petaling Jaya.