Malaysia’s Advertising Commission has banned all billboards displaying advertisements for illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services in its territory, including those in cities like Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Kelantan and Singapore.
The Advertising Commission, headed by the Minister of Communication and Information Technology (Moctis Malaysia), made the announcement Thursday, as part of an effort to stop the proliferation of illegal drug sales and other illegal activity.
As per the rules of the Commission, advertisements which do not conform to local regulations or do not promote the safe use of drugs, the spread of illegal activities or promote other illegal activities may be prohibited.
The Commission said advertisements must clearly and prominently state that the advertisement is in no way related to the activities and/or products being advertised.
It is also mandatory to put the following disclaimer: This advertisement is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement by Moctis Malaysian Marketing Company.
It is not allowed to use the term ‘Drugs’, nor is it permitted to use any term which is associated with illegal drug transactions.
If a advertisement is used to promote a business, it is also not permitted to refer to the company in any way or to include any other business related terms.
“This is a clear and simple rule, which we have implemented to prevent the illegal sale of drugs and the illegal activities of others,” Mocti Malaysia chairman, Datuk Seri Datuk Mohamed Saifuddin Abdul Mohd Al Said, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
He said the ban was aimed at encouraging Malaysians to think more about their own safety and the safety of their loved ones.
Municipal governments and government-run businesses must not allow advertisements of any kind which promotes illegal activities and illegal drug trading, according to the commission.
In its first five months of operation, the Advertising Commission was able to crack down on a range of illegal drugs including methamphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, heroin, crack cocaine and cocaine, but has had limited success in stopping other forms of illicit activity, according the ministry.
The Advertising Authority of Singapore (AAAS) said it had also been forced to suspend advertising in some cities after a large number of advertisements were placed in public places, including in malls, hotels and other public spaces.
AAAS said the banning of advertising will affect the ability of local governments and public authorities to conduct their business effectively, as they will have to consider how to deal with any advertising campaigns that are deemed inappropriate.