In a recent statement, Perlis Mufti Asri called upon the federal government to implement a more comprehensive system to promote good and suppress evil, while emphasizing the concept of “Malaysia Madani.” While discussing the issue of gambling, he expressed his concern and disagreement with the perception that gambling is exclusively a Chinese culture, as it is found across various ethnic groups with distinct rules and practices.
Mufti Asri argued against a complete ban on gambling, highlighting that not supporting gambling and supporting a ban are separate matters. He acknowledged the arguments made by state governments and Islamic religious leaders, stressing that gambling is discouraged in other religions and the harms associated with it are significant. However, he cautioned against an outright prohibition, as it could lead to the proliferation of underground gambling operations and illegal online gambling platforms that are challenging to regulate.
Furthermore, Mufti Asri emphasized the financial implications of a ban. He noted that without legal betting shops, individuals seeking quick wealth would turn to the black market, resulting in a loss of legal revenue for the government. The absence of legal channels also hampers the efforts of law enforcement agencies in combating money laundering.
The Mufti proposed a solution to address concerns within the Muslim community regarding the use of non-halal taxes derived from gambling, alcohol, pork sales, and similar sources. He suggested separating non-halal taxes from general taxes, adhering to Islamic rulings. The revenue generated from non-halal sources could be allocated to infrastructure development for the benefit of all citizens, welfare funds for non-Muslims, or the advancement of non-Islamic establishments.
Rather than relying solely on suppressive measures, Mufti Asri emphasized the importance of education to steer individuals, particularly Muslims, away from the detrimental habit of gambling. By promoting awareness and providing guidance, he believed that a more positive and constructive approach could be taken to prevent the negative consequences associated with gambling.
The responsibility to address the issue of gambling was outlined as a shared effort between the state governments, federal government, and law enforcement agencies. While the closure of legal betting shops fell within the purview of state governments, the task of dealing with the black market and ensuring effective regulation lay with the federal government and law enforcement bodies.
In conclusion, Perlis Mufti Asri’s statement has ignited a discussion regarding the comprehensive handling of gambling in Malaysia. The call for a balanced approach that considers education, regulation, and the separation of non-halal taxes has raised important points for policymakers to consider. The topic of gambling will undoubtedly continue to be debated as authorities weigh the potential impacts of different strategies on society, the economy, and religious beliefs.
Reported by Zhang Jieying