After illegal gambling exposed on social media, home minister tells Malaysians to ‘use proper channels’

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin (right) meeting with Mohd Asri Hamid, founder of Hot Burger Malaysia at Parliament building August 10, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin (right) meeting with Mohd Asri Hamid, founder of Hot Burger Malaysia at Parliament building August 10, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

SUNGAI BULOH, Aug 10 — The public should use the proper channels to report any criminal cases, including illegal gambling, to avoid endangering their own safety, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.

While expressing his gratitude to burger seller Mohd Asri Hamid, 42, for exposing gambling activities in Sungai Buloh, Hamzah said the act of disseminating information on social media could pose a threat to the whistleblower.

“We encourage these whistleblowers to provide information on criminal cases, but it should be done according to the laws and they must not act recklessly.

“Do not make any accusations to the extent of making them go viral on social media. Please lodge a report and the authorities will investigate,” he told reporters when met in Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh here today.

A live video broadcast via the Hot Burger Malaysia Facebook page had gone viral and also been shared on Mohd Asri’s account under the name of “Asri Janggut”, who claimed that the authorities did not take any action on gambling activities in Sungai Buloh, besides revealing the gambling locations. 

When asked whether the police would take action on Mohd Asri, Hamzah said the police would question him so that proper action could be taken on his allegations.

“It’s not that we want to punish him (Mohd Asri) but we want to investigate every claim and accusation made by him,” he said.

Hamzah said the police would also take action to ensure Mohd Asri’s safety, as he claimed that he might be in danger for exposing the video in social media.

At the same time, he said, stern action would be taken against police personnel if the allegations that they have been protecting illegal activities turned out to be true.

Meanwhile, Sungai Buloh District police chief Shafa’aton Abu Bakar denied Mohd Asri’s allegations, saying police have opened an investigation paper and would call the latter to record his statement.

Meanwhile, Selangor police chief Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin, when contacted, confirmed that a team from the Sungai Buloh district police headquarters had raided the gambling dens in Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh, with the latest operation being conducted on Saturday.

Earlier today, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador had contacted Mohd Asri to thank him for his revelation.

Meanwhile, Mohd Asri said he was also contacted by an individual who expressed dissatisfaction over his move to expose the gambling activities.

“I was contacted by a person who claimed to be the ‘godfather’ of this area, saying what I did was wrong. But I did not receive any threat.

“I have conveyed this to the IGP, who informed me that the police will investigate the matter,” he said.

Bernama reported today that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) would investigate allegations that the authorities were protecting illegal premises, gambling dens and people selling contraband cigarettes around Sungai Buloh.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (Operation) Datuk Seri Ahmad Khusairi Yahaya said the MACC viewed seriously the issues brought up in two video clips which claimed the authorities had failed to monitor and enforce the law, besides taking bribes from those involved in illegal activities. — Bernama