- Published on Sunday, 12 January 2014 11:06
DAP organizing secretary Anthony Loke has protested the BN decision under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razk to introduce additional four digit (4D) gambling permit "special draws".
Loke said the additional "special draws" by numbers forecast operators (NFO) would also contribute to more social ills that would far outweigh the benefits from the expected RM150 million in tax income.
In a statement Jan 8, Loke noted that the federal government had approved 22 Special Draw permits for each of the three NFOs — Magnum, Damacai and Sports Toto — this year, to take place on Tuesdays on top of the regular 4D draws every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
He noted that according to the written reply from the Finance Minister in Parliament in September 2013, the amount of taxes collected from the Special Draw from January to June 2013 alone had amounted to RM70.8 million.
“That means, the estimated gaming taxes from the additional Special Draw this year will reach RM150 million. Even though this seems like additional government revenue, Malaysians will actually lose more money through gambling. The social costs, such as an increase in loan shark cases, will be quite significant,” the Seremban parliamentary member said.
Loke however conceded he did not have figures to show how many went bankrupt from gambling addiction, but asserted that most who borrowed from loan sharks were gamblers.
The lawmaker also said that the amount of gaming taxes from the six licensed lottery operators in Malaysia — Sports Toto Malaysia, Magnum Corporation, Pan Malaysian Pools, which owns Damacai, Sabah’s Diriwan Corporation, Sarawak Turf Club and Sandakan Turf Club — totalled a massive RM6.3 billion from 2008 to 2012, according to the Finance Ministry’s Parliament reply in October last year.
“On average, the government collects RM1.26 billion each year from lottery draws. This does not include gaming taxes from the Genting Highlands casino and the slot machines at clubs and private companies,” he said.
“For slot machines, the taxes collected by the government were RM73.6 million in 2010, RM77.3 million in 2011 and RM82.4 million in 2012,” he added.
Loke also said that Opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat (Pakatan) had suggested to Putrajaya to create a separate account for gaming taxes, so as to “safeguard Muslim sensitivities”.
“The money from such gaming taxes should be channelled transparently to the non-Muslim community, like vernacular schools and social and cultural clubs,” he said.
Loke said that the Finance Ministry’s Parliament reply — which stated that the taxes collected from the Special Draw in the first six months of 2013 went to “sports, welfare, social, cultural and health programmes” — was too vague.
“I urge the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to cancel all additional Special Draw permits to prove that the government does not depend on gambling activities to increase tax revenue,” he said.