Those of you who might be thinking of getting cheap broadcast services, better make sure that it comes from legal channels! The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has announced that they are in pursuit of the increasing amount of unauthorised satellite dishes in Malaysian households, reported The Star.
MCMC has warned that ownership of these satellite devices is against the law. An MCMC official added that resellers and household owners can be hauled into court for owning and using these illegal telecommunication devices.
This issue gained serious attention when unlicensed Laos satellite known as LaoSat set-top boxes or decoders are becoming more in demand in Malaysia. The LaoSat decoders provide users with connections to over 160 TV channels.
The illegal decoder provides access for sports, movies and news channels to users for only RM400 a year. A source told The Star that LaoSat broadcast service is prevalent in Chinese households because many of the programmes transmitted through the KU-band are in Mandarin.
The satellite is allegedly illicitly imported into the country through the Malaysia-Thai border and the device can be bought effortlessly from local online stores.
The installation service is usually included with the purchase of the satellite decoder but buyers can also hire freelancers who are experienced in installing these devices. These freelancers offer their services through online advertisements as well.
Culprits would be incriminated under the Communications and Multimedia (Technical Standards) Regulations 2000 and under Section 239 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.
If the accused is found guilty, they can be fined a maximum amount of RM100,000, as much as two years of jail time or both.
The suspect could also be convicted under the Customs Act for acquiring the telecommunication device illicitly. Suspects can also face fines of 10 and 20 times the rate of the device and could be imprisoned up to three years if they are captured red-handed with the equipment.
MCMC encourages those who know important info about the trade of the illegal decoders to notify the authorities and stop this practice.
A spokesperson from Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd revealed that they are aware their satellite dishes are being used by shady installers for LaoSat.
The Astro spokesperson added that they are teaming up with MCMC to investigate the issue and focusing on getting subscribers who ended their service to return the devices.
However, it can be rather challenging to identify the use of LaoSat because it is hidden by local satellite dishes. Only those who are experienced will know that someone has illegal decoders by the direction the satellite is facing in order to obtain the transmission.
The installers providing their services charge customers as low as RM150 for the installation while another RM 250 is charged for the set-top box.
An anonymous LaoSat seller told The Star that in a week, he installs between six to eight decoders.
The seller said that if there is a local satellite dish already accessible, all they have to do is move the direction of the dish and the whole thing takes about 15 minutes. It is quite simple and fast to get the LaoSat transmission, but it relies on the time and weather of the day.
LaoSat services are mainly used by Chinese families and football enthusiasts. There is an abundance of Chinese shows, which involves live sports too. English channels and European football events, including news and various Chinese dramas are also among the channels offered.
The source told The Star that the unauthorised LaoSat decoder was brought to our country prior to the World Cup last year.
The LaoSat satellite service is operated by Lao Asia Pacific satellite Company Limited and it is made available in the whole of South East Asia, Indo-China peninsula, China and even India, Pakistan and some areas of Afghanistan. The satellite signals are transmitted from Vientiane, Laos.
The cheap service is not worth the jail time, folks, so please don’t be involved in illegal activities!
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