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Will 4D gaming be reinstated in PAS-ruled states after Kedah court rules as unconstitutional license ban?

Publish date: Wed, 10 Jul 2024, 09:04 AM

A DECISION by the Alor Setar High Court on June 20 to grant 4D gaming operators six judicial review applications targeting the Kedah state administration’s decision to ban their operations could well set a precedent that leads to the potential lifting of gaming license bans in four PAS-ruled states (Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Terengganu).

In an e-mail response to Malaysiakini, the number forecast operators’ co-counsel Muhammad Hiqmar Danial Hidzir confirmed the outcome of the court action by the operators for Sports Toto and Magnum outlets could have “far-reaching” effect.

“The reliefs granted by the Kedah High Court are wide-reaching as these reliefs quashed the Kedah state government’s decision to ban the issuance and renewal of business’ premises’ license for licensed pool betting across the state,” asserted the lawyer.

However, the Kedah state government has since applied for a stay of execution on the ruling pending an appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Recall that Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor had on Nov 14, 2022 announced that Kedah would no longer approve gambling licences in addition to limiting the sale of liquor at all premises, especially in rural areas in the state.

The decision took effect on Jan 1 last year, shuttering all gambling and lottery premises across Kedah.

According to one of the judicial review applications filed by STM Lottery Sdn Bhd, the applicant contended that the state government’s decision was illegal, irrational and unconstitutional. STM Lottery is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sports Toto Bhd (formerly Berjaya Sports Toto Bhd).

The operator, reported Malaysiakini, claimed that the Kedah state administration’s decision failed to consider the multi-ethnic composition of its citizens.

Perlis could be next

Moreover, the applicant contended that the decision was made without prior consultation with stakeholders in Kedah. It further contended that Articles 74 and 75 of the Federal Constitution empower only the federal government to enact laws and regulations for gambling.

Interestingly, the Alor Setar High Court also ordered the defendants comprising the Kedah state government, its MB Sanusi, the Alor Setar City Council and its mayor Datuk Mohd Yusri Md Daud - to compensate the plaintiffs for their losses.

Similar argument can surely be applied to challenge gaming license bans in Perlis (the latest state to ban gambling), Kelantan and Terengganu - if so desired by 4D gaming operators.

As it is, Sports Toto Malaysia and four other parties have challenged the Perlis state government’s decision not to allow betting outlets to apply for business premises licenses with the case having been brought to the appellant court for pre-trial case management.

The plaintiffs had earlier filed for judicial review in July last year but the application was dismissed by the Kangar High Court in January this year.

On July 26 of last year, the plaintiffs had filed the case at the Kangar High Court, alleging that the move by the Kangar Municipal Council to cease renewing the business premises licenses of gaming outlets was ultra vires and violated the Federal Constitution. The directive was issued on April 27, 2023.

They claimed that the decision had resulted in unemployment and loss of income among its employees and that the move had infringed the rights of non-Muslims.

Perlis, the smallest of four PAS-ruled states, shut down its sixth and last betting 4D outlet (Da Ma Chai) on March 6 to become the latest state that has phased out gambling under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) banner.

Since January 2023, Kedah has shut down all its 45 gaming outlets while Kelantan and Terengganu have imposed the ban since 1990 and 1999 respectively. - July 10, 2024

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Bodoh bodoh move by PAS. Ban NFO no point! Malay can gamble in Casino De Bursa lah. And this gambling is legal & halal!

1 week ago

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