Hundreds of activists from Malaysia's Islamic party on Friday protested against the legalisation of sports betting and a weekend rap concert, criticising both as "immoral".
Mainly Muslim Malaysia has granted a sports betting licence to a company owned by influential tycoon Vincent Tan, the firm said Wednesday, in a move it said would curb illegal gambling and boost government coffers.
AdvertisementGambling is forbidden in Islam and the legalisation proposal had been resisted until now.
"This approval will encourage our youth to gamble. This will make our country worse," Kamarulzaman Mohamad, secretary of the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) youth wing, told a crowd of 300 people in Kuala Lumpur.
"It will only enrich the rich, the gambling boss, while the people suffer," he said, as angry protesters who gathered at a mosque chanted "God is great" and "destroy gambling".
Scuffles broke out briefly when police moved in and tried to seize placards which urged the government to revoke the gambling licence.
The conservative Islamic party also urged the government to stop a concert to be held on Saturday where US rapper Pitbull -- known for hits like "Hotel room service" and "I know you want me" -- will make his Malaysian debut.
"His performance and the lyrics in his songs will erode the moral values of our youths, they will be exposed to negative culture, socialising freely and drugs," Kamarulzaman said.
Performances by foreign bands frequently come under fire in Malaysia with PAS -- a member of the three-party opposition alliance -- typically leading the charge.
The party has protested against concerts by the Black Eyed Peas, Avril Lavigne and Gwen Stefani.