Putrajaya will study public feedback to its move to legalise sports betting following an uproar over the licence reinstated to tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s dormant online gaming company.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today the government recognised the public reaction on its move to legalise sports betting and would analyse the feedback from Muslims and non-Muslims.
“I have not been informed in detail what is the situation, to be frank, but we have also recognised the reactions from the public, Muslims and non-Muslims.
“I do believe we will take that into consideration. But as it is now I have not been briefed in detail what is the issue,” Muhyiddin told reporters here.
The DPM’s remarks come following stinging criticisms and public outcry over the Najib administration’s recent move in legalising sports betting ahead of the World Cup next month.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had issued a licence to Tan’s Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd, which is to be acquired by the Berjaya Group — also controlled by Tan. Berjaya will take a 70 per cent stake in Ascot.
DAP has accused Najib of “cronyism” for awarding Tan the sports betting licence without an open tender process, saying that it sounded the “death knell” to his New Economic Model (NEM) which was supposed to eliminate rent-seeking and patronage.
In contrast, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had rejected the Finance Ministry’s proposal to legalise sports betting during his reign as prime minister.
In Malaysia, illegal bookmaking activities are estimated to be worth up to RM20 billion a year.
Pakatan Rakyat leaders have accused BN of legalising sports betting as a means to boost flagging revenues amidst a wide deficit gap ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in June.
The government’s latest decision has hit a raw nerve with sections of the Malay community, who have started protesting in mosques on the perceived dangers of the legalisation of sports betting.
DPM do not know or understand what is legilise betting. When have ever the B.N. Govt. understood the people feeling especially of non muslim.
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