PETALING JAYA: A Member of Parliament will raise the issue of stiffer law for illegal gambling in the coming Parliament meeting to push the government to amend the current outdated legislation.
Sungai Siput MP S. Kesavan has notified Parliament to raise the issue in the August House.
He said this is a follow-up to the 2019 Budget announcement which proposed for a higher minimum penalty of RM100,000 for illegal gamblers, with a minimum mandatory jail sentence of six months.
It also proposed a minimum penalty of RM1mil and a 12-month minimum jail sentence for illegal operators.
Currently, the penalty for illegal gambling under the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953 is a fine of up to RM50,000 or up to six months’ jail, or both, while operators of such illegal activities can be fined up to RM50,000 and jailed up to three years, or both.
He said other MPs are rallying behind him to raise the issue and support his call for a stiffer penalty.
“The current law is outdated. It has been in the system since 1953 and there is a need to re-look and review the legislation to keep it updated with the existing time and technology, ” he said.
He said the higher penalties would deter illegal gambling activities and this could help fix the tax leakage.
He said the government loses about RM3bil in tax revenue annually to illegal gambling syndicates and if there is a stiffer law to curb such activities, it could indirectly help to fill the government’s coffer.
He said having stiffer penalties would also allow the government to have tighter control of the gambling activities and at the same time, address the social and moral issues concerning such habits.
“From what I found out, illegal gambling such as 4D betting harmed the B40 group. It places hope for them to win big with the bets they placed as a way out of poverty but unknowingly they become trapped in the gambling habit.
“With illegal 4D syndicates offering credits for their betting, some chalked up huge debts from this and ended up having to borrow from loan sharks to repay the loans, which leads to other social illnesses.
“Some had also used their government aid to fund the activities or pay up their 4D credits, leaving nothing for the family, ” Kesavan said.He said a stiffer law can help discourage and prevent them from indulging in illegal betting habits.
MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong said the government should study and look at the proposed amendments seriously.
“There is a need for a stiffer law to prevent illegal gambling and at the same time increase the revenue to be collected by the government.”
Chong said when police are serious in fighting these illegal gambling activities, the lawmakers should be serious in making changes to the law to discourage the activities.
“The current law on such illegal gambling is no longer relevant in fighting this type of crime, especially with the use of modern and sophisticated technology.
“Therefore, there is a need to review the legislation to keep up with the times, ” he said.
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