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Monday, November 25, 2013

Dudong rep wants govt to end online gambling scourge

Published: Friday November 22, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday November 22, 2013 MYT 2:21:07 PM

INTERNET gambling in Sarawak is becoming a serious social problem, and there is a need for the state government to step in and put a stop to this fast.

Yap Hoi Liong (Dudong-DAP) said since many shop lots, which are within the jurisdiction of local authorities, housed illegal Internet gambling activities, this showed that they had failed to check on the premises.

“Pursuant to the Local Authority Ordinance 1996, all local authorities are conferred with the power to conduct regular inspections on all buildings within its local limit jurisdiction.”

The Local Government and Commu-nity Development Ministry ought to direct all local authorities to cooperate with the police to track down all culprits involved in online gambling in the state, he said when debating the Supply Bill yesterday.

In Sibu, Yap said, many people complained that online gambling activities were rampant now after a short “break”.

“It can be found in the town centre, Sibu Jaya, and even the shophouses near to residential areas. Many youngsters and even students are involved.”

He wondered if the government had any plans to conduct a survey on the number of illegal online gambling centres in Sarawak and their impact on society. He also said the government should weed out policemen who acted as whistleblowers for operators of these centres.

“If the situation continues where the operators get wind of every impending police raid, this social menace cannot be stamped out. This is a very serious issue that the state government should look into.”

Christina Chiew (Batu Kawah-DAP) said the low-income group would suffer the most when the Government implemented the Good and Services Tax (GST) in April 2015.

“The majority of Sarawakians are poor. The Hansard records that the natives are the poorest.”

She said before there was GST, the middle class and the rich paid all of the taxes while the poor paid no income tax. “Now with GST, the poor may not be paying GST directly when they buy vegetables at the market as it is a zero-rated item but they will be indirectly experiencing the increase in price.

“For example, an introduction of GST on fertilizer will definitely increase the price of the end products namely vegetables,” she said.

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