KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah MP’s proposal that the Government allow a casino to be set up in the state has drawn criticism from Barisan Nasional and opposition parties alike.
Tourism industry players in the state, however, have acknowledged that a casino could serve as another attraction to bring in visitors to the state, which is already known for its natural attractions.
Sabah Progressive Party deputy president and former deputy chief minister Datuk Tham Nyip Shen said Batu Sapi MP Edmund Chong’s proposal in parliament last week had disregarded the state government’s pledge of reducing gambling activities in Sabah.
He said Chong’s Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) should initiate disciplinary action against the MP to deter the party’s elected representatives from lobbying for gambling activities in the state.
Parti Keadilan Sabah deputy chief Christina Liew said any economic gain from the establishment of a casino in the state would eventually be overshadowed by resulting social ills and problems.
“Parents who gamble regularly may gamble away their family’s livelihood and put their children’s future in jeopardy while children who gamble will only cause misery to their loved ones,” she said.
Sabah Tourist Association chairman Clement Lee said while a casino could be a boost for Sabah’s tourism industry, the state was more known as an eco-tourism destination.