An opposition assemblyman in Kedah has criticised the Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor for practicing double standard in his position on ketum-leaves smuggling, while harbouring a different attitude towards legal gambling in the state.
Speaking at the state assembly yesterday (22 March), Derga ADUN Tan Kok Yew pointed out Sanusi’s recent idea in exporting ketum leaves to Thailand to curb the smuggling of the leaves.
“What amazes me is that the Menteri Besar can use this approach to curb and combat the smuggling of ketum leaves, but on other similar issues, he uses a different approach,”
“Although gambling premises in the state were licensed before, they have since been banned. Now there is a lot of unlicensed gambling in the state because licensed gambling is banned,” he said.
“Congratulations MB. Those who followed the law and were licensed are now banned, but those who are against the law are being allowed to operate illegally,” he added.
In November 2021, Sanusi said Kedah will ban the operation of shops selling numbers forecast lottery draws in the state by not renewing their business licences.
Other than gambling licences, Sanusi said the government will begin restricting the sale of alcohol in public to only allow it to be sold to non-Muslim consumers.
Kedah is the second state to prohibit lottery number outlets, after Kelantan.
Sanusi also told those who are keen to buy lottery numbers can go to Penang instead.
Tan also questioned the rationale for the Menteri Besar to legalise ketum. He pointed out the irony that gambling was once licensed to curb illegal gambling, only for the activity to be prohibited.
“I am giving this as an example. Gambling is forbidden for Muslims. It is a fact and nobody is questioning this. We from the DAP also understand and defend that gambling is illegal for Muslims.”
“But gambling for non-Muslims, even in our country Malaysia, is now an offence – unless it is illegal gambling or gambling without a licence,” Tan said.
Recently, the maritime officials seized 2.2 tonnes of ketum leaves worth RM400,000 headed for Thailand.
Home minister Hamzah Zainudin had also said “no” to Sanusi’s proposal for the banned substance to be exported to Thailand.