SHUTTING down the 4-D gaming outlets in Kedah effective January 1, 2023 with the possible ban in other PAS controlled states might be pyrrhic victory for the Islamicists.
The timing of the ban comes as no surprise because of the looming state elections in a matter of months.
In fact, the Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Sanusi Mohd Nor wants state elections soon so that the ban on the gaming outlets might provide the political fodder for PAS and Bersatu, the religious and race champions in the coalition of PN.
While the ban might provide the political fodder for the Green Wave, the move itself might not be a wise one.
The presence of illegal gaming operators in the country has a long history. These operators successfully manger their business in parallel to the legal 4-D gaming outlets.
With the ban, the illegal operators will strengthen their operations on a broader and more intense scale.
They will be certainly thankful to the PAS states for providing a long-awaited avenue for them to function.
The uncalled and stupid move by Sanusi to ban the 4-D outlets is not so much about government losing revenue from the taxes but giving rise to illegal operations that will be difficult to contain.
What are some of the implications of this ban on the 4-D illegal operators?
First, the government will lose considerable revenue that could be used for social purposes.
Second, the ban will drive the operators underground. As it even without the ban, there is proliferation of illegal 4-D outlets that are being operated throughout the country. The ban will only serve to reinforce the illegal operations to considerable extent.
Third, legal operations are those that can be regulated by the government and the respective agencies. However, if these gaming outlets go underground, then what is there to regulate?
Fourth, wiping out of illegal gaming outlets will be an issue. Enforcement in the country is not straightforward as it seems. There are too many intervening variables that will operate to nullify enforcement measures.
Fifth, the functioning of the illegal operations will come to depend on the infamous practice of corruption. There is good chance that the continuation of these illegal operations strengthens the practice of corruption among those in local and state governments.
From superficial perspective, the banning of the 4-D gaming outlets might serve as a plus point for those in PAS and Bersatu. But in the long run, banning these outlets will only give rise to the phenomenon of illegal outlets. – Jan 3, 2023
Main pic credit: Harian Metro