By FMT Staff
SHAH ALAM: Selangor will not allow new gambling outlets to be opened in the state in conjunction with the World Cup. It will also tighten its grip on existing outlets.
Chempaka assemblyman Iskandar Abdul Samad, in denying rumours that the Selangor government had approved 10 gambling licences in I-City, said while the federal government can issue gambling licences, outlet or premises permits came under state jurisdiction.
“I received a call from PAS Selangor secretary Khairuddin Othman saying that an MP had alleged that the state council meeting last month approved 10 gambling licences for I-City near Shah Alam.
“Let me state that no such approvals were made during the council meeting,” he said in his blog.
He was alluding to the federal government's recent issuance of gambling licences to Berjaya Corp Group allowing it to carry out related activities in conjunction with the World Cup. The move is expected to earn the federal government RM60 billion in taxes.
Iskandar said the executive council meeting last month had discussed the gambling issue but no approvals for licences were made.
“Even a suggestion to extend the operating hours of entertainment arcades was shot down by PAS councillors, what more the issuance of gambling licences to I-City. It’s a malicious rumour by Umno feeders," he said.
Iskandar said during the meeting he had raised the issue of outlets selling numbers which were patronised by Muslims.
He said in regard to this, Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim had suggested that the state hold back on issuing premise licences for such operations in Muslim-majority areas.
He also explained that the only way the state could contain the gambling issue is by barring the opening of new outlets.
“The federal government can give away gambling licences but the state’s local councils decide on the licence for premises.
“If all the council members agree not to issue premises licences to operators, then there will be no kedai nombor or kedai kuda in Selangor,” he said.
Sultans urged to intervene
Meanwhile, PAS has urged the Council of Rulers to step in and encourage the federal government to rescind its decision to issue gambling licences for the World Cup.
Vice-president Mahfuz Omar said PAS was confident that the council would take the appropriate action.
“The rulers had in the 1960s, after a public outcry, set an example when they told Umno-BN to cancel the Welfare Lottery.
“The late Raja of Perlis was vocal in censuring Umno leaders then. I believe the rulers will be wise in their decision,” said Mahfuz, who is also Pokok Sena MP.
The Council of Rulers is scheduled to meet on June 26 and will incidentally be chaired by the Raja of Perlis.