Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC)’s chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad. Pix by Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor

PUTRAJAYA: The next stage of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) all-out war against graft will be focused on illegal gambling.

Its chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad said the commission would be training their eyes on the dens, operators and enforcement authorities that give them protection.

“There is a lax of enforcement and there are definitely corruption issues that MACC can focus on. We will take action on those giving and taking bribes,” he said, adding that brazen violations on licensing conditions, pointed to the likelihood of corrupt practices.

Among the instances he cited were cybercafés being used as fronts for the activities and the placement of machines related to gambling or the placement of more machines than allowed under their respective licensing conditions.

“The issue of illegal gambling has been discussed for a long time, even the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has talked about it but we don’t see a reduction in the widespread incidents.

“So it’s high time for us to take this matter seriously and we will take more aggressive action on those involved in illegal gambling and those protecting these syndicates or operators,” said he said after receiving a memorandum from Gerakan Banteras Aktiviti Haram (GBAH), a coalition of Muslim NGOs to express its readiness to work with the commission to eradicate graft.

Dzulkifli said the memorandum reprised the need for MACC to launch a more aggressive campaign to weed out illegal gambling operations as they have a major implication on Malaysian society.

He also said a majority of those involved in the activity were found to be Muslims which also would cause major repercussions.

Masridzi Sat, who is the chairman of GBAH, said the movement is against illegal activities and that the coalition, which had nearly 30 years of experience in researching graft activities and aiding civil servants in crackdowns against illegal gambling dens, sees these developments as very disappointing trends.

“When we are called in as observers during operations with enforcement officers we find that there is leaked information prior to busts. The premises also keep mushrooming despite increasing raids. This shows that there are widespread elements of corruption.

“This is very disappointing because government officers are entrusted with keeping trusts. But when they commit such acts it’s akin to treason,” he added.

He said that GBAH will continue to urge the government to address the issue through similar memoranda to leaders and the cabinet by demanding a review of the laws, control in the issuance of licenses as well as the eradication of corruption that lingers in the area of enforcement on gambling dens.

Earlier Dzulkifli also said that the commission was prepared to work together with the coalition and would look into areas that they could collaborate on such as the sharing of information.

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