Police are looking for the people involved in a Hari Raya festive ad that promoted online gambling to Muslims – something that’s not only offensive to the religious community but also illegal in Malaysia.
The video by virtual casino GDBet333 that went up on YouTube just in time for the Hari Raya season earlier this week drew thousands of views and backlash for being offensive to Muslims, who have been observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan since Tuesday. Police revealed today that they were investigating the ad for promoting online gambling in public, which violates the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953.
“Our investigation will focus on the producers [of the ad] and the actors who were involved in the making of the video,” Deputy police chief Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said today.
Islam forbids worshippers from gambling. The festive video has been removed from GDBet333’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages but continues to be circulated elsewhere.
The ad featured a man who was going through financial difficulties and didn’t have enough cash to return to his hometown for the Raya holidays. He then resorted to gambling online through the GDBet333 platform, where he earned big bucks, and went on to join four others in a singalong to lyrics that said, “Come to GDBet333, there’s a lot of money to be won,” and “Launder money and then celebrate Raya.”
There were no popular actors in the ad, which also got the attention of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, who then urged the producers and actors to be more sensitive about their content in the future.
“The production crew should have avoided being involved in promoting a video related to online gambling, which is illegal,” the commission’s statement said, adding: “While there is freedom to create content, the creators should also cater to the sensitivities of diverse audiences in Malaysia.”
Those who reacted to the ad called it “insulting” and “insensitive” towards Muslims, who celebrate Hari Raya at the end of Ramadan on May 12.
“This is clearly an insult towards Islam,” @Kyungcorn_ wrote. “We all know Raya is for Muslims, and that gambling is prohibited in Islam.”
“How can people be this insensitive?” @Ara_fafa asked on Twitter.
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This article, Police search for producers, actors of Hari Raya-themed online gambling ad (video), originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.