PUTRAJAYA: It is up to the authorities to reveal the identities of politicians providing political patronage to illegal online gambling syndicates, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
“I leave this to the wisdom of the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. They know better,” the Home Minister said.
“I don’t want people to accuse the minister of interfering (in this case) to bring down his political opponents. Let the authorities do their job and do what is necessary,” he added when speaking at a session with the media here.
On June 15, Saifuddin responded to a question in the Dewan Rakyat by revealing that there was an element of political patronage in online gambling in the country, describing it as the “biggest obstacle” for his ministry.
It was reported that both the police and the MACC have received information linked to the claims of political patronage over illegal online gambling and the two enforcement bodies are exchanging information and intelligence on the matter.
On how the political patronage works, Saifuddin cited a scenario where police had decided to raid several premises believed to be where illegal online gambling sites were being operated from.
“Let’s say the premises they are targeting is in Kuantan and a team from Bukit Aman is doing the raid, but when they reach Bentong they are told that the premises has been emptied,” said Saifuddin.
He added that the police are facing obstacles in stamping out these illegal activities due to information leaks, and said that the authorities need more legal muscle to curb online gambling as the current laws were 70 years old and meant to deal with activities like cockfighting.
Saifuddin said that offences related to online gambling are not covered under the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953 and the Betting Act 1953.
“This must be looked into as illegal online gambling is a multi billion-ringgit industry,” he said.
– The Star