KUALA LUMPUR: A Sarawakian MP has called on the government to reconsider its decision to reduce the number of special draws to eight from 22, warning that it will lead to a dip in the country’s revenue.
Willie Mongin (GPS-Puncak Borneo) said slashing the number of special draws by more than half would result in lower “sin tax”, duties that were collected from gambling, alcohol and tobacco products, among others.
Willie also warned that the decision to reduce the special draws could lead to widespread illegal gambling.
“This will see the government earning less.
“The sin tax can be used to help non-Muslims in the country,” he said when debating the King’s speech at the Dewan Rakyat.
The reduction of the special draws was announced by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Dec 5 last year. He said it was a drastic move to take on his first day as finance minister.
In 2021, the then government had given gaming companies permission to hold 22 “special draws” for 4D numbers last year, on top of the usual thrice-weekly draws.
In 2018, the Pakatan Harapan government decided to lower the frequency of special draws to 11 in 2019, compared to 22 set by the previous Barisan Nasional government a year before.
It had been reported that Putrajaya collected an average of RM1.26 billion a year from the gaming industry between 2008 and 2012.
In 2019, then finance minister Lim Guan Eng revealed that the sin tax collected from gambling activities in the preceding year amounted to RM4.5 billion.