KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — PAS has today opposed its allies in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government for allowing the rise of special draws for the lottery industry, instead pointing to Kelantan as an example for banning all forms of gambling there.
The Islamist party’s information chief Kamaruzaman Mohamad said that his party has been unwavering in its stand on gambling, saying that Kelantan has imposed a blanket ban by not allowing its local councils to issue permits for any gambling businesses.
“PAS strongly opposes any attempts to increase the number of gambling draws in the country. At a time when the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic, rightfully the people should not take an easy way out of their trouble.
“Instead, PAS is confident that the assistance that will be channelled through the 2021 Budget will be able to help the people overcome this challenge.
“A responsible government needs to play a role in changing the mindset of the people to see gambling as a form of disease that will damage the family, community and country. In fact, gambling activities do not bring any benefits, but even greater harm,” Kamaruzaman said, in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
Kamaruzaman’s posting comes after a similar statement by former deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong, who had chastised the PN government, alleging that it has increased the number of the four-digit number forecast special draws from eight times this year, to 22 times next year.
The DAP MP had expressed worry that many who gamble are those from the bottom 40 per cent households, which he said may lead to addiction and social ills — a call he has made for years.
In 2018, the then Pakatan Harapan government had decided to reduce the frequency of special draws to just 11 times in 2019, compared to 22 in 2018 set by the previous Barisan Nasional government.
Liew also said that the draw was then reduced to just eight times for 2020, but PN has now reversed that decision for 2021.
Special draws are run by number forecast operators like Magnum, Sports Toto and Da Ma Cai.