ALOR SETAR: Mukhriz Mahathir (PH-Jitra) today sarcastically asked the Kedah government if it was planning to declare an Islamic state, following its announcement that it will not renew the business licences of four-digit lottery outlets.
The former menteri besar raised the question after a backbencher hailed the state government’s decision to effectively ban gaming oulets and to restrict alcohol sales.
Mohd Azam Abdul Samad (PAS-Sungai Limau) had earlier said “any right-thinking Muslim” in the Kedah assembly would support such a move “as Allah had decreed it”.
He then recited a Quranic verse and asked Muslims in the assembly to rise in support of the ban.
All on the government benches rose from their seats, and were joined by two opposition assemblymen – Ismail Salleh (PH-Pengkalan Kundor) and Mohd Asmirul Anuar Aris (PH-Kubang Rotan). They are both from Amanah.
Mukhriz then interjected and “congratulated” the PAS backbencher and the state government for coming up with the ban.
“I would like to ask, is the state government planning to announce that Kedah is now an Islamic state and it’s exclusively for Muslims?” he asked.
Azam responded by saying a multiracial society was the “basis” of the Kedah and federal constitutions.
“I’m not sure if gambling is allowed by other religions or if the non-Muslim community feels that gambling is good for them (but) we all know that it leads to social ills,” he said.
Tan Kok Yew (PH-Derga) then asked Azam if statistics showed that gaming outlets had led to social ills in the state, to which he said the latter should wait for the relevant state executive councillor’s response.
Simon Ooi (PH-Bakar Arang) said while he was not a fan of the 4D outlets, he was against the “flourishing” illegal gambling in the state.
Ooi said that when he was an exco member, he had asked for more vigilance by local councils issuing licences to premises offering gaming machines.
He said the decision to eventually phase out the 4D outlets would lead to more illegal operations offering the same service.-FMT