‘Govt must probe, name politicians involved in protecting online gambling syndicates’

Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail

A criminologist has urged the Malaysian government to set up a task force to investigate claims by the home minister that politicians are protecting online gambling syndicates.

Datuk Dr P. Sundramoorthy said the task force must name the politicians involved in the menace and that the Attorney General must persecute them once there is evidence.

In the Dewan Rakyat earlier today, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said “affirmatively, yes” when asked by Datuk R Ramanan (PH-Sungai Buloh) if political patronage was hindering the act of eliminating illegal online gambling sites.

“I would be laughed at if I were to say political patronage does not exist,” said Saifuddin.

“It exists. Affirmatively, yes. From there comes influence and protection, corruption and bribery.

“These players then repay their political masters.”

Sundramoorthy said he was not shocked by Saifuddin’s statement that illegal gambling syndicates have political patronage.

“I am pleased that he has done a righteous thing, without fear or favour, to reveal what many believe is true,” Sundramoorthy told Twentytwo13.

“His statement must be based on facts, or he would not say such a thing in parliament. The seriousness of this issue must not be underestimated.

“It must go beyond parliament, and the government must set up an independent task force to investigate these claims and name those involved.”

Sundramoorthy said crime is colour-blind and affects victims and offenders from diverse backgrounds and that it did not shock him that people in authority could be involved in criminal activities.

He added that former Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador also openly said that criminal syndicates in the country infiltrated various segments of society, including those in power.

“I believe this is the first time a home minister has been brave enough to say it in the open. It is time to start an investigation,” said Sundramoorthy, an honorary associate professor at the Centre for Policy Research and International Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia,.

“We need to nab these influential people. They bend and break the rules to protect the perpetrators who run these illegal gambling sites.”

He added that his ministry worked closely with Bank Negara Malaysia and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to monitor gambling sites.

Saifuddin also said Malaysia has inadequate laws to fight online gambling – The Common Gaming Houses Act 1953 and Betting Act 1953.

“It is now 2023. These acts have stayed the same all these years. Who is responsible for amending them? Politicians,” said Saifuddin.

“I will discuss this matter with the prime minister as he is also the finance minister. These two acts are under his ministry.”