MIC, MCA leaders hit out at Kedah gambling ban

MIC, MCA leaders hit out at Kedah gambling ban
T Mohan and Chong Sin Woon are the latest leaders to lambast the Kedah menteri besar’s decision to ban gaming shops in the state.

MIC, MCA leaders hit out at Kedah gambling ban

PETALING JAYA: Two Barisan Nasional component leaders have become the latest to criticise the Kedah menteri besar over the decision to ban the operation of gaming shops in the state by not renewing their business licences.

MIC vice-president T Mohan said he found Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor’s actions “illogical”.

“At times, the Kedah menteri besar loves cheap publicity,” he told FMT, adding that Sanusi did not respect the other races in the state.

Mohan said it would be better for the state government to reduce the number of gaming shops instead of applying a blanket ban.

He added that while he understood that Muslims were prohibited from gambling, “no one is urging them to do so”.

“So, if non-Muslims want to gamble, let them do it. And if Muslims are found to be gambling, then nab them.”

MCA secretary-general Chong Sin Woon said the decision by the Kedah state government would send the wrong message that Malaysia was becoming more restrictive and moving towards conservatism.

State governments, he said, should recognise and respect multiculturalism.

“A government should be for all, not championing one race or religion,” he said when contacted.

Chong went on to say that while MCA did not encourage gambling, it would defend the non-Muslims’ right of choice.

Earlier today, Sanusi said the decision not to renew local council licences for gaming shops was aimed at tackling gambling-related ills, which he said had destroyed families and led people to incur debt. He did not provide any data to back up his claims.

Apart from gambling, the state also plans to curb the sale of alcohol in rural parts of Kedah but no details were given.

The decision by the Kedah government has since come under fire from political and business leaders, who say it ignores cultural diversity and would affect the revenue for the state and country.

‘No right to impose personal beliefs’

The DAP’s legal bureau chief, Ramkarpal Singh, also took Sanusi to task for imposing his personal views on gambling.

He said the authorities could only refuse to renew business licences if the operators failed to comply with regulations. Although the Local Government Act 1976 gave local authorities the discretion to refuse a renewal, such power could not be exercised arbitrarily.

He said the Kedah menteri besar had announced that the state will not renew licences of gaming operators based on his own personal beliefs “which he has no right to do”. Sanusi’s action was tantamount to dictatorship, he said.

Ramkarpal said the federal government must intervene in this “senseless and illegal act” or risk being seen as weak in the eyes of the public .

MIC, MCA leaders hit out at Kedah gambling ban

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