12,449 phone lines blocked

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More than 12,000 phone lines were blocked in the first four months of this year for offering online gambling services.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the Communications and Multimedia Commis­sion (MCMC) was working closely with the police and respective telcos to block phone numbers found to be advertising online gambling.

“MCMC had directed the telcos to block a total of 12,449 phone lines between January and April this year which were found to have elements of gambling,” he said in reply to Er Teck Hwa (DAP-Bakri) at the Special Chambers in Parliament.

He said the measure was an option avail­able to MCMC to curb online gambling activities apart from raids carried out by police on illegal gambling dens.

He said between January and April this year, MCMC investigated 438 public complaints involving gambling advertisements promoted through social media such as WhatsApp.

Salleh said that MCMC would carry out digital forensic investigation to monitor and identify websites and phone lines that offer gambling services.

“Since 2012 and April this year, MCMC had blocked access to 664 gambling websites following written request from the police,” he said.

He added that MCMC was also working closely with the relevant agencies to amend gambling laws such as the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953 (Act 289).

Salleh also said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announ­ced the setting up of a parliamentary caucus in March to better deal with the problem of online gambling.

Earlier, Er called on the Government to deal with the serious social problems posed by online gambling.

He said access to such sites was now made easier through sms advertisements.

Er said the gambling sites were now willing to offer loans and women to lure people to gamble.

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