Sunday, June 6, 2010

Malaysia: Islamic State vs Gaming Nation

Young protestors take to the streets in protest to the issuance of another gaming football licence by the Prime Minister of Malaysia to tycon's Vincent Tan gaming group.

A quick check at Forbes' list of the Richest Men in Malaysia year after year would reveal two names that standout. Top in the list is Robert Kuok who inherited an empire from his parent's sugar monopoly since the colonial days and from then into a big conglomerate. His group bags in about 42 billion Malaysian Ringit. Next is the gaming group - Genting. The issue of giving out another gaming licence to yet another top ten Malaysian list of billionaire - Vincent Tan was met with popular disapproval by many Muslim organisations and political parties boding ill for the integrity of Najib ( PM of Malaysia as per picture left). Hundreds and thousands of protesters have started street demonstrations, political and religious gatherings voicing their dismay and anger precipitating in a nation-wide movement called the " Anti- Gaming Licence Movement". Many more demonstrations,etc will be carried out in June and July. Being an Islamic state proclaiming Islam as the official religion, it is no wonder that the citizens are totally irked and furious about Najib's offer of additional gaming licence to tycon Vincent Tan's company.

Vincent Tan Chee Yioun, 58, ( see picture to the right) has a range of investment portfolios under his Berjaya Group of companies. He dabbles in the business of gambling, financial services, property development, hospitality, media, telecommunications, education, food, beverages and direct selling. Some popular foreign brands in his ambit of brands are like " Starbucks", "Cosway", "Kenny Rogers", "7-Eleven" and even " Friendster", the social networking media. Vincent's curent net worth = RM 3.29 billion (2010 estimate).
For the majority of Muslims, the giving away of the gaming licence is a shocking practice on behalf of Najib, displaying his utter disrespect and mockery of the Islamic religion which forbids all forms of gambling. For many years before and many years ahead, Malaysians will be forever shamefully reminded that being an Islamic state Forbes decision to categorically state the nature of business of our richest tycons as " Gaming" remains a great contradiction. This will remain a painful pill to swallow for many new generations of Malaysians on the moral implications of gambling especially on the stark reality that gambling only enrich certain indiviuals according to the Forbes list. Period.

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