The augmented reality (AR) game by Niantic Inc that’s taking the world by storm hasn’t even launched in Malaysia yet but already, some parties are protesting against it, calling for the app to be banned.
Pokémon GO a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game that uses the GPS, clock, camera of compatible devices and allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual Pokémon who appear throughout the real world.
Previously, Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria called on the federal government to ban Pokémon GO amid rumours that the game may be available in Malaysia soon.
Harussani said that the game shouldn’t be allowed in the country if it were true that there were elements of gambling involved. He was referencing the words of local preacher Shahrizan Daud, who said that Pokémon GO was a form of gambling because it rewarded users for the capture of the little pocket monsters, adding that it could result in addiction.
And just a couple of days ago, an NST columnist wrote in an opinion piece titled, “Say ‘no’ to Pokemon Go“:
“The obvious risks of the game clearly outweigh the benefits and can easily bring about tragic real-life consequences. Here is a sense of foreboding in the air, a feeling that something wicked and evil is about to engulf the world, and swallow Malaysia whole in its wake.”
That’s not all.
Just today, Pertubuhan Martabat Julinan Muhibbah Malaysia (MJMM) president Abdul Rani Kulup Abdullah lodged a police report against the yet-to-be-launched Pokemon app at Dang Wangi police headquarters. He claimed that the game will promote social ills among the youths and destroy the faith of Muslims as it could lead to obsession.
“We firmly oppose this game as it is detrimental to children’s development as their minds would be filled with cartoons. In the end, everyone would become cartoons in Malaysia,” The Star Online quoted Rani Kulup as saying.
Also present was Ikatan Rakyat Insan Muslim Malaysia (Irim) president Amir Amsaa Allapitchay, who called on the authorities to emulate countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia that have deemed Pokémon GO as “unIslamic” and banned the game.
“Allowing the release of Pokemon Go in Malaysia would be truly unacceptable. We would like to suggest the government to act against this before it destroys the country,” Amir said, adding that MJMM and Irim would also submit a protest note against the game to the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.
Meanwhile, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak has reaffirmed that Malaysia has neither objection nor restriction for Pokémon GO to be released Malaysia.
“Even though some countries may restrict it, but we in Malaysia…we have not reached that stage,” he told the media at the Communications and Multimedia Ministry’s Aidilfitri do in Putrajaya on 25th July 2016.
Inspector General of Police (IDP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar also said that the police have no plans on banning the game unless if it has elements of gambling or is a security threat.