But according to Malaysiakini which reported in its MCA veep: Sports betting U-turn 'regrettable', MCA VP Gan Ping Sieu differed with CSL, stating:
“I regret that the government succumbed to political pressure to revoke its earlier decision to legalise sports betting. From day one, this issue has been politicised to the hilt by Pakatan Rakyat leaders who were posturing for selfish interests.”
“Had sports betting been legalised, the government would have been able to manage and mitigate the social impacts that come with the industry.”
Yes and no, or no and yes.
It’s true Pakatan had politicised the issue, perhaps for party interests or perhaps for public interests, or even both. So the politicising of sports betting licence is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s part of the democratic process.
And Najib’s government succumbing to such pressure is also not necessarily a bad thing, as he has been politically wise to do so.
"... the government would have been able to manage and mitigate the social impacts that come with the industry ..."? Utter bulldust! When has the government ever mitigated the adverse consequences of gambling?More importantly, if sports betting is to be legalized, then there should an open tender for the award of the licence, so that the best deal could be obtained for both the authority and the gambling public. This could include legislating social obligations required of the licencee.
But we need to ask, and Gan should do as well, why was the original okay awarded to Vincent Tan’s Ascot Sports without any form of open tender?
There's no doubt that it had been awarded, as Vincent Tan claimed and Najib himself conceded indirectly by stating the government could withdraw what it had awarded.
The above had been the principal public disatisfaction, on what was perceived as yet another cosy crony award.
Thus, can you blame many for speculating that UMNO would be the main beneficiary, indeed extraordinarily via political ‘donations’ to its political war chest – and some had even speculated (without evidence of course) that Ascot Sports might have been a front for UMNO interests. The no-tender approach plus Dr M’s strong vocal support haven't help, adding unnecessary credibility to the speculations.
If Gan Ping Sieu is really for legalizing sports betting then he should propose a fair and open system of open tender for such a licence and the conditions and social obligations for holding such a licence. But I haven't read anything constructive in his comments other than blaming Pakatan. In that, he has been guilty of the very thing he had blamed Pakatan for, politicizing the issue rather than coming up with something constructive.
And why has he raised the issue of gambling at cyber cafes only now, after Vincent Tan has been denied his sports betting licence? Why didn’t he raise this earlier when BN was controlling Selangor, Penang, and Kedah?
And why mentioned Pakatan controlled states only in conjunction with the accusations of gambling at cyber cafes? Why not Perak, Johor, Sarawak and FT where there are many Chinese in these states?
After all, didn’t Dr M say gambling is part of Chinese culture and way of life, and legalizing what Lim Mun Fah termed as the 'demonic habit' would be showing respect for the Chinese culture? For more of 'the demonic habit' read The Malaysian Insider’s Chinese are not gambling addicts! by Lim Mun Fah.