Sabah recreation workers protest ban on slot machine operators

Recreation club workers protesting the ban on slot machine operations in Kota Kinabalu today.

KOTA KINABALU: Recreation club workers today gathered to protest the decision last month not to renew business licences of outlets with slot machines, accusing the state government of ignoring the voice of the people.

The Welfare Association of Recreation Club employees (PKPKRS) said about 3,000 individuals and their 15,000 dependents would be affected by the decision.

“Many of our colleagues are worried, not just about themselves but also their families. They are stressed, yet we read these statements in the media knocking us down day by day,” said PKPKRS president Yap How Nam, adding that Chief Minister Shafie Apdal has also failed to respond to requests for a meeting.

While slot machine licences come under the federal finance ministry, the state government has jurisdiction over the business permits.

“If the establishments’ trading licences expire end of this year, we will not renew their trading licences after that. The decision is final,” Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Jaujan Sambakong had said.

Most of the business licences of outlets with slot machines will expire at the end of the year.

Yap questioned why no action was taken against 4D outlets which are involved in gambling.

“Why us? If the state government wants to close down all gambling in Sabah, why not close the rest of the outlets such as 4D shops too. Why only slot machines?” he asked.