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Ex-Malaysian PM says nothing wrong with sports betting

Posted By: Staff

Kuala Terengganu (Malaysia), June 15 (ANI): Former Malaysian prime minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has said that he finds nothing wrong in the government's decision to allow sports betting as long as Muslims were strictly barred from it.

"This is my take on the issue. The Chinese, especially, like to gamble. If we do not allow (betting), they are going to do it anyway, through illegal means," he said at the "Melayu Bangkit" rally at the state indoor stadium here.

He was asked to comment on protests by the opposition parties against this decision.

The New Strait Times quoted him as saying that if Muslims were found to be involved, then the authorities should detain and punish them as it was against Islamic teachings, adding that legalised betting would allow the authorities to monitor the gambling sector better.

Dr. Mahathir denied allegations that Umno would be getting cuts from the issuance of the licence to business tycoon, Tan Sri Vincent Tan.

Tan, the chairman and chief executive officer of Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp), sold his 70 per cent stake in his privately-owned Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd to BCorp last month after Ascot was given a conditional sports betting licence by the Finance Ministry.

Tan recently announced that he would donate the entire proceedings of the sale to charity. (ANI)

Story first published: Tuesday, June 15, 2010, 13:15 [IST]
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