PUTRAJAYA: It will be back to only eight four-digit special draws from next year.
The government has overturned a decision made by the previous government to raise the number of such draws to 22.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the drastic decision was one of the first ones he had taken after becoming the Finance Minister.
“Today, I direct that it (special draws) be maintained at the previous level, which is eight times (annually).
“The previous government, which had members from PAS and Bersatu, had allowed gambling companies to hold 22 special draws, which is three times as many,” he told a press conference after chairing his first Cabinet meeting here yesterday.
Anwar hit out at the Perikatan Nasional coalition, which had considered the 22 draws a year “acceptable”, hinting that the coalition had taken money from the gambling activities for its own use.
“On the issue of gambling, certainly this was partly used to finance elections. (I have asked for) checks on that.
“Whether you call yourself a Malay party or Islamic party, the (election) funds came from gaming companies,” he said.
A senior official of a gaming company said it was the prerogative of the government to decide on special draws and said they would comply with the latest decision.
He said they had to pay additional taxes for special draws and often considered it a “national service” and not really a profitable venture.