KANGAR: Perlis government will no longer approve license renewal for six existing gaming outlets in the state after March next year.
State Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Fakhrul Anwar Ismail said this was in line with the "Perlis Gambling Free" policy.
"However, the process will not be done drastically as it depends on the expiry date of the operating license of the premises involved.
"The Kangar Municipal Council (MPKPs) told me that the operating license of the gaming outlets will expire between this July, August and March next year, so we will not be renewing once they expired," he told reporters after the weekly state executive council meeting here on Wednesday.
Fakhrul added that MPKPs had issued a notice to the operators and held a verbal briefing to explain the move.
"It is being done in stages, not in one shot or hastily. We want to be fair to the operators and ensure they have ample time to prepare (to cease operation)," he said.
Fakhrul dismissed claims that the state government was not being transparent about the gaming outlets' licensing issue, adding that it was already in the planning, although Perlis Menteri Besar Mohd Shukri Ramli had yet to announce it officially.
"We are not interested in sensationalising this matter because we want it to be carried out harmoniously.
"In fact, in the State Legislative Assembly meeting, we have already made known the state government's stand that we will not be renewing the operating license of the gaming outlets once they expired.
"There are only six gaming outlets in Perlis which contribute annual revenue of RM2,544 to MPKPs, so it is easy for us to manage," he said.
Three of the six gaming outlets in Perlis are located in Kangar, two in Padang Besar and one in Kuala Perlis.
Fakhrul responded to claims made by PKR Indera Kayangan assemblyman Gan Ay Ling that the state government had not been transparent about the gaming outlets' licensing issue.
On Monday, Gan - the sole opposition elected representative in Perlis, expressed disappointment at the Perikatan Nasional state government's lack of transparency over the licence status for gaming outlets in the state.
The NST reported her as saying the move came as a surprise and is contrary to recent reports that the state has yet to decide on banning gaming and lottery activities.