By Richard Umpau
As we enter the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) phase in our fight against Covid-19, the government has relaxed much of the restrictions that were imposed earlier. Some sense of normalcy has returned, to the relief of many.
But numbers-forecasting business is still shuttered in Malaysia and this begs the question why? The process of placing a bet at any of the numbers-forecasting outlets is not very different from any counter transactions which have resumed, such as in post offices.
Under the new normal, someone would take the body temperature and record contact details of visitors who want to enter the post office. To maintain social distancing, only a limited number of customers are allowed in at any one time.
Why can’t the same SOPs be implemented in gaming outlets? If anything, the transactions performed in these outlets are quicker than for most transactions in post offices or JPJ offices.
Has the decision to shelve the re-opening of gaming outlets got anything to do with the presence of PAS in the Perikatan Nasional Cabinet now? Is the government now targeting gambling after the recent brouhaha over the sales of alcohol?
If so, this is extremely sad because last I checked, we live in a plural society where we respect each other. This back-door government, made possible with Gabugan Parti Sarawak’s support, has become a farce.
Besides the socio-religious dimension, there’s also economic impact if the ban on numbers forecasting is prolonged. The industry provides hundreds of millions, if not billions of ringgit in tax revenue to government coffers. At a time of economic hardship, such additional revenue will come in handy – whatever your personal views on gambling.
Richard Umpau is a reader of The New Sarawak from Miri. The views here do not necessarily represent those of this portal.