MCMC to take action against viral Raya-themed gambling ad

The ad, which promotes gambling to Muslims, has been deemed as offensive by users on social media. — Screengrab from Twitter

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has reached out to various social media companies with requests to remove a Raya-themed advertisement made by a gambling website from their platforms.

The ad, which has gone viral on social media with one clip garnering more than 300,000 views on a Twitter account, is presented in a music video format where Muslims in Malaysia are encouraged to place bets through the gambling website in order to earn money for Hari Raya celebrations.

Netizens have reacted negatively to the ad, deeming it “offensive” and “insulting” towards religious sensitivities.

Gambling is prohibited among Muslims, as explained in a 2016 post on the official website of the Mufti of Federal Territory which stated that “gambling is clearly prohibited according to the Quran, hadith and scholarly consensus”.

MCMC in a statement on April 16 said gambling activities and online gambling promotions are subjected to Common Gaming Houses Act 1953 which is under the jurisdiction of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).

“Since March 12, 2021, MCMC has also operated fast-track restrictions by enabling the PDRM to instruct Internet service providers to block access to websites that violate the law under the same Act,” the commission said.

It has also communicated with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to remove the ad in accordance with the terms of service as well as community standards set by each company.

MCMC added that the parties involved in the making of the ad such as the production team and actors should have been more sensitive and not taken part in activities that promote online gambling, which it said is clearly an offence.

“Content production is subject to the Communications and Multimedia Content Code to be complied with by those involved with the production and distribution of content. In the freedom to provide content, providers should follow a content code that conforms to the norms of Malaysian society,” the regulatory body said.

The Star’s Bahasa Malaysia-portal mStar reported that the ad was first uploaded onto YouTube last week but has since been removed.

Social media users are also urged to report content with offensive material such as promoting online gambling directly to the authorities instead of sharing the content.

“The act of disseminating the content will only directly help the parties involved in spreading their message to promote online gambling which can be detrimental to Malaysian society,” MCMC said.

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