PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) ordered Internet service providers to block websites distributing the video game “Fight of Gods”, which it said was a threat to the sanctity of religion and inter-racial harmony in the country.
Communication and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak said on Friday (Sep 8) that action was taken after the video game platform provider, Steam, failed to comply with the ministry's 24-hour ultimatum to disable downloads of the game by users in Malaysia.
The game pits the likes of Jesus and Buddha, as well as mythological characters against each other in a player-versus-player format.
“This action is necessary to protect the users and to prevent untoward incidents,” Salleh said in a statement on Friday (Sep 8).
“Solidarity, harmony and wellbeing of the multi-racial and multi-religious people in the country are the main objectives of the government,” he added. “The government will not compromise with any action that can jeopardise these objectives.”
Several users told Channel NewsAsia that, as of about 10.30pm local time (0230 GMT), Steam's entire website was inaccessible in Malaysia, and a notice on the site said that it violated national laws.
A check by Channel NewsAsia at 11.30pm on Friday showed that the Steam website could be accessed on WiFi, but that the game was no longer available to users in Malaysia.
Early on Saturday morning, Salleh said Steam has since disabled downloads of the game.
In a tweet, he said the block on the video game provider's website will be lifted.
HUGE THREAT TO RACIAL UNITY AND HARMONY: SALLEH
On Thursday, Salleh had described the video game, which was developed by a Taiwanese gaming studio, as one that degraded religions and religious leaders and posed a huge threat to racial unity and harmony.
He added that the MCMC would ask the platform provider to disable downloads of the video game for Malaysian users within 24 hours, failing which further action would be taken.
“The MCMC also wants to remind consumers to be more vigilant and use their discretion when selecting content to access,” he said.
Salleh added that creating and spreading offensive content was an offence under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
Offenders could face a year’s jail or a fine of up to RM50,000 (about US$12,000), or both.