PAS invites DAP, others to end gambling together; says should tap GLCs not lotteries for Covid-19

Ida Lim
·4-min read
PAS Youth chief Khairil Nizam Khirudin said the party’s youth wing was thankful towards DAP’s efforts via its Dewan Negara lawmaker Liew Chin Tong in raising the issue of the government’s increase of the frequency of special lottery draws for the year 2021. — Picture by Mierza Zulyana
PAS Youth chief Khairil Nizam Khirudin said the party’s youth wing was thankful towards DAP’s efforts via its Dewan Negara lawmaker Liew Chin Tong in raising the issue of the government’s increase of the frequency of special lottery draws for the year 2021. — Picture by Mierza Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 — Islamist party PAS today invited other political parties such as DAP and across the political divide to work together to put a stop to all gambling activities in Malaysia.

The youth wing of PAS also objected to the federal government’s use of special lottery draws to fund the country’s fight against Covid-19, suggesting that government-linked companies (GLCs) be roped in to help with pandemic-related costs instead.

PAS Youth chief Khairil Nizam Khirudin today said the party’s youth wing was thankful towards DAP’s efforts via its Dewan Negara lawmaker Liew Chin Tong in raising the issue of the government’s increase of the frequency of special lottery draws for the year 2021.

“We are confident that DAP has the same aspirations as us to ensure that Malaysia is free from gambling, which is forbidden in Islam and could contribute to damage and social problems in the country.

“Therefore, we invite leaders from DAP, and other parties in Pakatan Harapan or Perikatan Nasional to eliminate all gambling activities in Malaysia together. May Malaysia continue to progress in 2021 without gambling,” he said in a statement today while urging for bipartisan support against gambling.

Khairil Nizam, who is also a lawmaker in the Dewan Negara, echoed Liew’s concerns over the government’s move to increase the frequency of special lottery drawings from eight times a year in 2020, to 22 times a year starting from 2021.

While noting that this increase was intended to increase the country’s revenue for Covid-19 control efforts just as when it was first introduced in 1999 to tackle the Nipah virus, he said that PAS Youth did not believe that this is the best solution as it is forbidden in Islam and would cause more social problems.

Khairil Nizam suggested alternative solutions, including for the government to increase the funds allocated for the Covid-19 pandemic using existing government revenue without increasing the frequency of special lottery drawings.

“PAS Youth also proposes that the government encourage joint ventures with GLC companies to bear the cost of controlling the Covid-19 pandemic, to replace the revenue collected from special lotteries,” he said.

He said that PAS Youth would also like to meet with the finance minister and Finance Ministry for a discussion to find the best way to increase the government’s revenue for the Covid-19 fight, and to present solutions to control and reduce gambling activities within Malaysia.

On December 28, Liew had in the Dewan Negara highlighted the Perikatan Nasional government’s alleged increase of the frequency of special drawings for four-digit lotteries to 22 times in 2021, which would effectively be a reversal of the Pakatan Harapan government’s previous efforts to reduce the frequency of such special draws.

Liew, who is also a former deputy minister, had said that such special lottery drawings would actually be equivalent to the government collecting tax from the low-income groups who would often try their luck in gambling activities in the hope of getting lucrative returns.

“Many of them become addicted to gambling and this will cause other social problems. They will continue to try their luck with special draws,” he had said, as he urged the current PN government to emulate the previous PH government’s previous move in reducing the frequency of the special lottery draws.

He said the PH government had cut down the number of special lottery draws from the 22 times in 2018 (which was decided by the previous Barisan Nasional government), to just 11 times in 2019 and further reduced it to just eight times in 2020.

On December 31, PAS which is part of the PN government also expressed its strong objection to the increase of special draws for lotteries, highlighting PAS-ruled Kelantan as an illustration of the party’s anti-gambling stance with the state not allowing its local councils to issue permits for any gambling businesses.

Special draws are run by number forecast operators like Magnum, Sports Toto and Da Ma Cai.

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