Malaysia continues its war against websites, including online gambling sites, the country has deemed illegal. On Friday, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) announced that it has blocked access to 399 websites up until February 2016.
Twenty two of the 399 sites were investigated, and according to Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak was quoted by the Malaysia Kini saying they found the sites “have misused the Internet and new media.”
“Among the websites blocked include online gambling, scams, prostitution, and websites that contain obscene, lewd, false content and others,” the minister said, according to the news outlet.
Critics believed that sites should be put to trial before they were blocked, but the minister asserted that “the commission can’t afford to wait for a court decision before blocking websites,” some of which they claimed were “detrimental to society.”
Last year, the commission blocked access to some 310 online gambling sites as a response to “the online gambling activity which had raised public concern.”
MCMC said it received a total of 940 applications from authorities in 2015 to block access to online gambling, which allegedly actively promoting and organizing online gambling that is considered an offense under the Common Gaming House Act 1953.
Meanwhile, police in coastal city of Miri arrested 22 people—aged between 17 to 47—in two gambling dens in the area. Three gambling machines believed to be worth RM66,000 were also seized during the operation.
Recently, the Malaysian government announced that it will seek to revamp the country’s gambling laws, which were introduced long before the advent of the Internet. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he’s open to revising the existing legislation and introduce new acts to aid its long-running war against illegal gambling. The minister said a huge part of the legislative upgrades would be to provide “heavier penalties, both preventative and punitive.”