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Monday, September 27, 2010

Cabinet funded by gambling money too, says DAPSY


KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — In defending the Penang Pakatan Rakyat government, the DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) reminded its rival Umno Youth information chief Reezal Merican today that Cabinet ministers were paid with “forbidden” gaming money.

DAPSY chief Loke Siew Fook publicly rebuked Reezal for allegedly defaming the Penang government by claiming the state used gaming revenue to fund its poverty eradication programmes.

Loke noted that Reezal and his partymen must have run out of political ideas and issues when they had to resort to unsubstantiated and defamatory allegations to remain politically relevant in the island state.

“It is a joke how Reezal continues to play up this issue which shows the highest level of hypocrisy.

“Does Reezal, who used to be the political secretary to the previous finance minister, not know that all forms of gambling tax go into a Consolidated Fund under the Federal Government?” Loke quizzed.

The Rasah MP pointed out that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had confessed as much in a written reply to the former’s question in the previous Dewan Rakyat sitting on June 9.

Loke said he had asked Najib, who is also Finance Minister, to state whether revenue from gambling was separated from the Consolidated Fund; the mechanism to manage the gambling revenue; its uses and what percentage was channelled to deal with social woes resulting from gambling activities.

“At this time, revenue from gambling activities are categorized as government revenue. Based on Article 97 of the Federal Constitution and Financial Procedure Act 1957 (revised in 1972) all taxation or revenue received by the federal government will be credited into the Consolidated Fund,” Loke said in a scathing open letter directed at Reezal, citing Najib.

“The Consolidated Fund comprises three main accounts, the Consolidated Account, the Consolidated Trust Account and the Consolidated Loans Account.

“All revenue from payment of taxes are put into the Consolidated Account like all other government revenue and is used for purposes of management spending and national development,” Loke repeated.

“The government does not at this time have a specific allocation for curbing social problems resulting from an addiction to gambling. However, the government prepares an annual allocation to the ministries to carry out social activities.

“In addition, the government is also in the midst of research to create a specific code under the Consolidated Fund Account to account for all revenue collected from gambling activities and it will be channelled to spending allowed under syariah rules,” he stressed.

Loke pointed that the gambling tax collected by the Barisan Nasional federal government last year amounted to RM2.3 billion, and that the figure included taxes from the casino in Genting Highlands and from revenue of numbers forecasting such as Magnum and Sports Toto.

“This figure is not invented by me but Deputy Finance Minister Senator Awang Adek in the Dewan Rakyat,” Loke said, seemingly with glee.

“For Reezal’s knowledge, part of the expenditure for national management and development is sourced from gambling revenue, which is said to be ‘haram’ (forbidden) by Reezal. This includes the allowances and salary of the prime minister, the deputy prime minister and Cabinet ministers from his beloved party,” the DAP man said.

The Penang government had earlier today disclosed it had used donations from the Penang Turf Club for the poverty eradication but claimed it was only given to non-Muslims, following Umno Youth’s allegations.

In its first allegation, Umno Youth accused the Penang government of using gambling money to pay RM100 annually to senior citizens in the state aged above 60 years.

It later claimed that the state was using the Penang Turf Club’s RM2 million donation — obtained from gambling revenue — to finance its anti-poverty programme.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng explained in a statement that the RM2 million donation received recently from the Penang Turf Club was separated from the pool of funds in the state’s Rakan Anti-Miskin (Friends Against Poverty) programme, also known as RAM, and was channelled only to the non-Muslims.

“We are aware of Muslim sensitivities in receiving money from gambling sources and this is why the money was separated,” said Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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