Kangar City Council Chairman Nono Razlan confirmed yesterday that the council had received instructions from the state government in April of this year to cease approving the renewal of business licenses for legal betting shops in the state. Denying accusations of exceeding its authority, the council chairman stated that the state government had formally notified the council after making the decision during an executive council meeting held in April.
The directive applies to six legal betting shop operators in the region, including Sports Toto outlets in Kangar City, Perez Port, and Padang Besar, Magnum in Kangar City, and Da Ma Cai in Padang Besar. The business licenses for these establishments are set to expire between the end of July this year and March of next year.
Nono Razlan clarified that the City Council had not received any dissatisfaction or appeals from affected businesses or other parties thus far. He further added that the council had not received any new instructions from the state government and, therefore, would continue to implement the decision not to renew betting shop licenses. This decision implies that the betting shops, some of which have been operating for decades, may have to cease their operations within the next three months.
Reports suggest that betting shop operators in the state will soon meet with Perlis State Minister Mohd Sukri to discuss the issue of license renewals. The matter will also be addressed at the regular state administrative meeting scheduled for tomorrow, June 14th.
Following the 15th general election in November of last year, the National League assumed power in Perlis, with the PAS Party taking control of the state. Consequently, there has been speculation among the Chinese community as to whether Perlis will follow Kedah in banning gambling.
Notably, all legal betting outlets in Kedah have been closed since the beginning of this year due to the inability to renew their business licenses.
Zheng Zaian, chairman of the MCA Perlis State Liaison Committee, expressed his views on the matter. He argued that as gambling is forbidden for Muslims, banning or closing the gaming industry would be redundant and would infringe upon the rights and lifestyle of non-Muslims. Zheng emphasized that shutting down betting shops would only serve as a temporary solution, rather than a permanent one.
As a former Perlis state executive member, Zheng Zaian proposed alternative measures for preventing Muslims from gambling. These measures include educational campaigns to discourage Muslims from engaging in gambling activities and strengthening law enforcement and penalties for those involved in gambling.
Zheng urged the Perlis state government not to follow the path of other states governed by the PN (Perikatan Nasional) coalition that have closed the gaming industry. He emphasized the importance of adopting a pluralistic and moderate governance approach, considering the gaming industry from various perspectives.
Zheng Zaian also warned of potential consequences resulting from a gambling ban in Perlis, such as the proliferation of illegal or underground gambling activities. Moreover, he highlighted the adverse effects such a ban could have on foreign investment, leading to a decline in tax revenue and hampering the state’s economic development. Consequently, the reduction in government revenue may necessitate cuts in public welfare.
The Bolivian Executive Council is expected to discuss the issue of betting shop licenses within the state’s gaming industry for the first time during the upcoming week.