Gambling: A never-ending pandemic

WHILE flipping through The Star newspaper during the weekend, reading on the news on the arrival of first batch of COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech in Malaysia, I came across your article in StarFocus page 11 with a title of ‘A Shot in the foot‘ [1]. We are appalled on your concern, mainly related to the issue of gambling industry in our country.

Gambling creates costs and benefits to a country, thus to the people who are living in the society. There are so many problems that gambling could lead into such as bankruptcy, crime, domestic abuse and even suicide. Gambling is very well-known as one of the causes of social problem in our society. 

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The government had drawn a policy to legalise gambling in order to maintain records of those legal companies that provide such platform. In return, the government would receive some benefits in terms of job creation and tax revenues that are received from such companies.

However, the main issue here is whether the benefit from gambling could outweigh the costs that are created.

Gambling could lead to additive act for some people who are not emotionally stable, especially for pathological gamblers. The American Psychiatric Association defines pathological gambling as a clinical disorder characterized by a persistent and recurring failure to resist gambling behaviour that is harmful to the individual and concerned others.

Probably, some people may think , “If you could not stop them, legalize them!”.

I am not sure about the statement that you had referred in the article by saying that, “In PAS’ Utopian world, vices don’t exist”. PAS is an organization that upholds true principles of Islam, thus being practical to the mankind. The world will never be perfect and no such terms of ‘perfect world’ ever exists, thus Islam had thought us that the mankind need to be governed by the rules and reward them with the deeds for good acts.

Our National Principles (Rukunegara) is a clear guidance to maintain the formation of a nation in our country. The fifth strong pillar of the principle – Courtesy and morality emphasizes on our responsibilities to maintain a true and harmony living in our country,

Looking at the gambling problem that had become more detrimental, we are sure that you have some proposed measures how to curb the bad and illegal activities. Many people out there would love to see gambling activities, whether they are legal or illegal to be reduced and gradually abolished in the long run. Having said that, the intention may be noble, but the implementation may be an issue in this current situation.

Combating illegal betting syndicates would be very tough, but we have to start now. It is a joint effort from the people just like me, yourself and our family. Living in this digital world would bring into another challenge in the new era – especially for the players and the regulators.

We strongly believe that with a good working structure amongst the central bank, ministries, regulators, legislators and the public, this issue would be kept at bay. 

You are very much welcome to bring up the issue and discuss with us Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai!

Best regards,

RIZAL HAFIZ RUSLAN
Chief Information
PAS Kawasan Tasek Gelugor, Penang – HARAKAHDAILY 21/2/2021

[1] http://wongchunwai.com/2021/02/a-shot-in-the-foot/