THE increase in video game outlets near residential areas around the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang is upsetting parents and teachers.
This is because such outlets often offer gambling games.
The parents and teachers fear that the outlets, often found operating on the ground and first floors of shophouses, presented an undesirable influence on the young generation.
StarMetro discovered many outlets operating at Sections U3, U5 and U6 in Shah Alam. While most of the outlets operated out of supposedly vacant premises that still sport shop-for-rent advertisements on their shutters, others operate as snooker centres and cybercafes.
Some even offered free soft drinks to customers as the competition was stiff.
Subang Bestari that has several schools, industries and residential areas, is among those with many illegal gaming outlets. Every street had an average of five outlets, and one even had eight.
Some parents claimed that students were often seen walking in and out of the gambling dens.
“Some of us have lived here for over 13 years and have seen the number of such outlets growing gradually.
“It is scary to think about children being addicted to these games,” said Mior Abdullah, the village head of Subang Perantau 2.
“The numbers might still be small now, but if we let this continue, the numbers will increase and there will be no stopping it. We should nip it in the bud,” he said.
Schoolchildren, he added, had been seen playing truant to go to the gambling dens, and when caught, did not show any sign of remorse.
A villager, known only as Ismail, said some of the children even boasted winning money, adding that the children were forthcoming with such information.
Some said they had won up to RM5,000 from gambling.
“Unfortunately, this is an addiction. The minute they win the money, they gamble it all away hoping to win more,” he added.
Kamarul, another resident, said even adults frequented the gambling dens, adding that he knew of someone who gambled a whole month’s salary.
Kota Raja Wanita MCA chief Jackie Chew suggested that MBSA identify all illegal gambling dens and cut off water and electricity supply to such premises with the help of Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Syabas.
“There should be some form of punishment for shoplot owners who rent out their premises to the illegal operators, she added.
“Usually, when the authorities carry out raids on illegal gambling dens, the operators will temporarily go missing.
“But after everything quietens down, they will open up for business again,” Chew said.
To prevent this from happening, she said, the relevant authorities must enforce the law consistently.
“It shouldn’t be done only when the public complains or the press highlights the issue,” she said.
Chew said the illegal gambling dens were easily accessible to children and residents, and this often raised other family problems.
Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) corporate communications head Shahrin Ahmad said the council had raided and closed many premises operating illegal gaming activities but such outlets kept sprouting.
“We have conducted over 10 raids at U3, U5 and U6 last year; eight at U3, six at U5 and twice at U3,” he said
Besides taking the operators to court, Shahrin said the movable properties at the outlets were sealed.
“We also confiscated computers and monitors used for the illegal gaming activity,” he said.
Shahrin hoped the public would provide information on such outlets to the city council.
“We do not want the education of our younger generation to suffer. It is also sad to realise that some adults are addicted to gambling,” he added.
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