The five indoor amusement outlets in shopping centres issued with family entertainment licence by Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) are prohibited from installing ‘fish machines’.
Council chairman Lo Khere Chiang said two of the indoor amusement outlets were located in Batu Kawah Moyan Square, one in Everrise Mall at Mile 4, and one each in Eastern Mall, Siburan and Wisma Sentosa in Kota Sentosa.
“There are only five indoor amusement outlets that we have issued with family entertainment licences. These five outlets licensed by MPP in shopping complexes are strictly prohibited from installing ‘fish machines’. The only machines allowed are like video games and bump-bump cars,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.
Lo, who is Batu Kitang assemblyman, explained that MPP would only issue family entertainment licences to indoor amusement outlets operating in shopping centres because they are open and not conducive for illegal activities.
“Therefore, I implore the police to raid and close the rest down as they do not have licences from MPP and they cannot obtain any licence because it is the state government’s decision.”
He was commenting on Padawan district police chief Supt Aidil Bolhassan’s statement yesterday, in which he urged MPP to work closely with them to eradicate illegal gambling activities in areas under its jurisdiction.
Aidil said MPP could assist his men by helping in the verification of licences issued to operators. He cited cases where owners of premises resorted to using family entertainment licences issued by the local council as a cover for their illegal gambling activities.
In response, Lo said MPP welcomed Aidil’s call for both the district police and MPP to work closely together.
However, he said MPP had only seven officers to perform enforcement activities which included dealing with illegal hawking and unauthorised house extensions in an area of about 800 square kilometres under its jurisdiction.
“MPP’s enforcement officers are not trained or equipped to deal with illegal gambling activities. My officers do not even have a baton to defend themselves. That is the reason why the control and curbing of illegal gambling activities falls under the purview of the police.”
Meanwhile, PKR women national vice-president Voon Shiak Ni, in representing the local community, welcomed the police’s response to their call through The Borneo Post yesterday.
Voon, who is PKR Stampin branch vice-chairperson, said it was good that the police had responded but it would be more constructive if the police could take action on the illegal gambling dens now.
“The community does observe that whenever this issue is raised, there will be finger-pointing between the police and local council. The local council will then follow-up in saying that they did not issue the licence.
“So at the end of the day, who has the executive and enforcement power over operation of these illegal gambling activities? It cannot be my party PKR, right?”
In stressing that finger-pointing would not solve the problem, she urged the local councils and police to hold discussions to sort out this confusion.
Voon said Selangor police did a good job in curbing illegal gambling activities when they seized RM48.5 million worth of illegal gambling machines between January and Dec 27 last year, where a total of 60,669 computer units modified into gambling machines were confiscated in 4,828 successful raids carried out in the state.
A Court order had been obtained to destroy the machines which were confiscated between 2014 and March 2016 and the owners of the illegal machines were charged in Court and punishment was meted out.
“Since the Selangor police have done a good job in their war on illegal gambling in the state, we hope the same can be done in our beloved state of Sarawak.”
Source : Jonathan Chia @ The Borneo Post Online