TV3, a leading private television station in Malaysia has decided to stop all its popular SMS contests following a religious ruling that Islam forbids such activities as they are akin to 'gambling'.
According to the Straits Times, the National Fatwa Council issued a decree this week that SMS-based contests violate the Islamic prohibition on gambling.
TV3 said that that it would adhere to the National Fatwa Council's decree and cease all SMS contests though other TV stations have said that they will further inquire into the matter.
A spokesman for TV3 said the station would seek further advice from the National Fatwa Council and the Finance Ministry on the guidelines, and a definition of SMS contests that had elements of gambling forbidden in Islam.
Meanwhile, satellite TV operator Astro said that the decree would not affect their station because it offers only skill-based SMS competitions and is not based on luck factor.
"From what I understand, the decree is only for contests that rely solely on chance. All of our contests require an element of skill," the report quoted Zainir Aminullah, Astro's head of programming, as saying.
But Malik Samsudeen, a businessman whose company provides SMS-based contests, said that he and some 400 other companies will suffer huge losses because of the decree.
"I have invested RM3 million (1.3 million dollars) and just ordered RM650,000 worth of new computer equipment, and today I received calls from my customers who want to put on hold all their SMS contest projects with us," said Malik. (ANI)
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