Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Tiong King Sing has urged critics who use religion to argue against the proposal to set up a casino in Sarawak to look to the Middle East for inspiration on moderation.
In a statement, Tiong said as Malaysia was a multi-racial and multi-religious country, politicians should not try to be more conservative than the Middle East.
“As an example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be hosting Miss World 2023 this year. There are also (many) luxury casinos in the Middle East.
“Should Malaysia, especially Sarawak, be denied the right to develop?” asked Tiong, in addressing objections by Sarawak PAS chief Jofri Jaraiee towards the casino proposal.
Among others, Jofri argued that the casino will bring social ills to Sarawakians.
Tiong argued that the casino – proposed as part of an integrated resort in Borneo Highlands which is a four-hour drive south of Kuching – would spur the economy and provide jobs if implemented.
Revenue from the project, said Tiong, can then be used to develop the rural areas in Sarawak.
“If we can stimulate the economy for the locals, why should we object (to the proposal)?
There is a reason why religious groups (of all faiths) disapprove of gambling. It is an addiction that, more than any other, ruins not only the lives of addicts themselves but of their whole families. This is sinful.
However, the Bintulu MP, Mr Tiong, suggests that it would be marvellous to create a sink of depravity – a ‘Gambling Mecca’ – right bang in the middle of one of the remaining Gardens of Eden left on our earth – the pristine hills of the Borneo Highlands.
His excuse is the same old chestnut that his business and political friends have employed for decades in their relentless pursuit of money and their grab for the resources of the people of Sarawak – that Casinos ‘will bring development’ (at last).
Wasn’t logging already supposed to have brought development?
Were not plantations already supposed to have brought development?
Was not hydro-power and its mega-dams already supposed to have brought development?
What happened to the money grabbed from oil, gas, gold, coal, sand and all the rest?
Were not all these activities supposed to have provided the taxes and royalties to ‘bring development’? If not, what hope can we have that Casinos will bring development?
Sarawak is one of the richest corners of natural resources on the planet. Something that Mr Tiong’s businessmen friends are only too aware of: it is why they came to Sarawak and remain pillaging it. Together with their political puppets they are already fantastically rich, yet the people they have continually promised to help remain bereft.
The same greedy destroyers are now floundering for new ideas in their post-extraction stage and what better, they clearly reckon, than to set up a gambling and entertainment centre to fleece their sick, addicted colleagues and launder the world’s ill-gotten gains, such as their own?
The other side of the coin when it comes to casinos is crime. So, if Mr Tiong wants to shove a dirty Mecca for Gambling into Sarawak, what is wrong with his own Bintulu?
And if he wants to populate this sin bin with ‘show girls’ why not choose members of his own family and friends to attract the Arab voyeurs of ‘beauty contests’ that he talks of?
Why destroy the Borneo Highlands and all their natural wonders and why pollute the native people with all the sinful addictions associated with gambling and casinos?
Could the answer be selfishness and greed?
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