Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister sends off Mobile Legends: Bang Bang representatives to the Esports World Cup in Riyadh, commits to make Malaysia a leading destination for esports tourism


KUALA LUMPUR, 21 June – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Rural and Regional Development of Malaysia, YAB Dato' Seri Dr. Zahid bin Hamidi, and international video game company, MOONTON Games, with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Esports Integrated, jointly held a press conference today (21 June) to officially release Malaysia's Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) representatives to the Esports World Cup in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Held at the Deputy Prime Minister's Office in Perdana Putra, the press conference saw the Deputy Prime Minister reaffirm his support for MLBB Esports and declare his commitment to make Malaysia a leading destination for esports tourism in the region.

MLBB is the most popular mobile Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game worldwide that brings communities together through teamwork and strategy. With over 1.465 billion installations and 110 million active monthly users, the award-winning game is among the top 10 most played in over 80 countries. MLBB holds multiple spots among the all-time most-watched esports events in the world; the Grand Finals of the M5 World Championship in the Philippines had more than 5 million simultaneous viewers

Three of Malaysia's top MLBB teams will carry the nation's colours to the Esports World Cup – Selangor Red Giants and Homebois to the MLBB Mid Season Cup (MSC) 2024 Group Stage and Wild Card Stage respectively; and Gaimin Gladiators HomeGirls to the MLBB Women's Invitational (MWI) 2024. Both tournaments will feature 35 teams from more than 16 regions, as well as a combined prize pool of USD 3,500,000 (~MYR 16,400,000). 

YAB Dato' Seri Dr. Zahid bin Hamidi, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, said: "I believe that the government’s support for esports such as MLBB will bring many advantages, especially in raising the country's image on the international level, considering MLBB's global reach. The presence of YB Tuan Adam Adli Bin Abd Halim, Deputy Minister of Youth & Sports, at the MLBB M5 World Championship 2023 in Manila – to announce Malaysia as the host of the MLBB M6 World Championship 2024 – is a display of the government's support for esports and recognising the industry efforts."

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He added: "As the host of the M6 World Championship, which will be attended by athletes from all over the world in November, Malaysia will give its full commitment to execute this prestigious event with excellence, to make the esports ecosystem even more sustainable, and create a positive impact on society, including making Malaysia one of the leading esports tourism destinations in the region, in line with the objectives in the Ministry of Youth and Sports' Electronic Sports Development Strategic Plan."

He also highlighted his commitment to developing young esports talent in the nation as Chairman of the National Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, saying: "I see the great potential of the esports industry in Malaysia. This can be developed by creating a special TVET programme to polish the talents of local youth in esports, including skills such as esports journalism and commentary, broadcast production, team management and coaching, as well as event organisation."

He concluded with a rallying cry to the MLBB teams who will fly Malaysia's colours at the Esports World Cup: "Make Malaysia famous on the international stage!"

The Deputy Prime Minister had previously graced the Season 13 Grand Finals of MLBB Professional League (MPL) Malaysia on 2 June, where he declared his intent to give more recognition to the esports industry at the cabinet level. Last November, the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) held a press conference in the Parlimen – the first time esports athletes were celebrated in the landmark – to send off Malaysia's representatives at the M5 World Championship in the Philippines

Fikri Rizal Mahruddin, Head of Marketing and Business Development, MOONTON Games, said: "Despite being one of the most popular entertainment options among youth, esports is still relatively new compared to other traditional sports like football. We believe that the government's continued backing of MLBB Esports in Malaysia will bring more credence and investment into the industry so that our athletes have the resources and support they need to shine on the international stage."

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Additionally, Fikri revealed that MOONTON Games has begun the process of applying for a support incentive from the Malaysian Government through Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia (MOTAC). 

He said: "Our immediate focus is on the MSC 2024 and MWI 2024. However, as pioneers of esports in Malaysia, we take a long-term view; our goal is to sustainably cultivate the ecosystem so that our community can enjoy the positive impact of esports, such as commercial benefits from esports tourism. In particular, we have one eye in November, when Malaysia will host tens of thousands at the M6 World Championship, our flagship international tournament."

He added: "For the M6 World Championship, MOONTON Games is working closely with the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) to ensure the event's success. The support and facilitation provided by KBS in collaboration with relevant government agencies through Esports Integrated (ESI), are crucial not only for the M6 World Championship, but also for the broader esports ecosystem." 

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The press conference took place after a closed-door meeting between representatives from MOONTON Games and esports teams, Selangor Red Giants and Homebois.