Commentary Politics

Illegal gambling dens are here to stay — because system allows it

Until it's actually done, any talk by anyone claiming to be able to build a cheaper MRT remains just that -- talk.

Until it's actually done, any talk by anyone claiming to be able to build a cheaper MRT remains just that -- talk.

Written by Aziz Hassan

July 24, 2017.

Recollections & Reflections – A weekly column

IT looks to be an issue that doesn’t seem to want to go away, despite the best-sounding declarations against it by the enforcers.

Why the illegal gambling problem seems such an insurmountable task for the authorities is difficult to comprehend, given that enforcers are trained to deal with something like this, apart from also having personnel trained in intelligence gathering.

What makes everything so questionable is that it’s unbelievable to think that the enforcers should have no knowledge of what goes on in a commercial building, mall, shoplot or wherever the operator thinks suitable when the people at large know of the existence of these illegal gambling dens.

When the issue gets hot, especially with wide coverage by the press, the enforcers then move it and subsequently announce their success story, only for the same shit to be repeated about six months down the line.

Today’s Star has given prominent coverage to this issue, talking about such joints in places like Klang. It is not the first newspaper to do so.

Mingguan Malaysia has given it as much prominence in the last few years, following up on an earlier police statement to go on the offensive and to also take departmental action against its officers found to be wanting in going after the illegal gaming operators.

Klang, Rawang, Port Dickson and god knows which other big towns are home to these joints but right smack in the heart of Kuala Lumpur?

Don’t know if it’s still there but one was known to operate from a commercial building owned by one of Malaysia’s better-known conglomerates and there it was – on busy Jalan Imbi!! According to those in the know, it was already there in the early 2000s.

Selangor or Penang should show the way to cheaper public projects

Talk, as people know, is cheap. Free in fact, so what opposition politician Nurul Izzah said recently about the opposition being able to build a cheaper mass rapid transport system counts for nothing.

She gave her two cents worth following the launch of the second phase of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT, which covers 51 kilometres, with seven of its 31 stations underground and costs RM21 billion to build, about RM3 billion less than budgeted.

To prove her point that the opposition would be able to build a better and wider MRT, it’s best for Nurul Izzah to start on making this a possibility in Selangor, which is ruled by an opposition led by her PKR.

Why not? The DAP’s Penang is planning to have a light rapid transport system from Komtar to Bayan Lepas, a shorter distance than the MRT but said by a PKR representative in Penang to cost more than the MRT. By the way the LRT is a step lower than the MRT.

Then there is the continuing dispute over the money already spent on preliminary works for the proposed undersea tunnel between the island and Bagan Ajam on the mainland.

Already that small island is linked to the mainland by two bridges and why the need for a third link beats me and everyone else. Even a Singapore with more people than Penang is linked to our Johor by just two roads/bridges.

Ironically something like the LRT or an undersea tunnel would have come under the category of mega projects previously a target of much criticism by now Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Significantly, see the different voices coming out of the same person when he is in the opposition and when he is in office, in this case helming a state government.

Seriously, Nurul Izzah and the likes of her party colleague Rafizi Ramli should make an effort to prove to us Malaysians that they can truly walk the talk.

But first remember than there promises outlined in the opposition’s manifesto from two general elections ago that remain unfulfilled although nothing is in the way in places like Selangor, which it controls. Something like free education remember?

 

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About the author

Aziz Hassan

A journalist since July 1976 with both the English and Malaya press and was with two newspaper groups before The Mole. Does corporate report-writing and translation in his free time. Currently also a contributing weekly rugby columnist for the New Straits Times.