Malaysia definitely doesn’t like to tun a blind eye on illicit gaming operations. The police have in fact managed to arrest over 22,000 in the past year alone, the Star Online has reported. These are quite the numbers indeed, with the police forces having enacted almost 12,500 raids in the last 12 months. What has led to this clampdown on gambling in Malaysia?
The Country of the Many Raids
As per the latest reports, Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Haun has reported over 12,400 enacted raids. The operations lead to the apprehension of 22,300 individuals of whom some were directly involved in the organization of illegal gambling affairs whereas others were just facilitators or promoters.
Nearly $1.13 million have been seized during the operations. Malaysia managed to top the results from a year before, when the police forces carried out 24,338 arrests but seized less than $1 million in ready money. The overall number of mobile devices taken from the culprits was well over 25,000. The police have also been keeping a clear record of their own operations, breaking down the results by separate state:
- Johor – 2,179
- Selangor -2,372
- Sarawak -1,617
- Negri Sembilan – 1,156
- Kedah – 945
- Penang – Penang
The numbers represent the successful operations in each separate state. There has been an official warning that individual performance of police officers is also monitored and that ranks will be cleansed from individuals who may have been abetting or shielding gambling activities.
While the crackdown on illegal gambling activities has been commendable, there has also been a mounting pressure to hit performance benchmarks which may lead to the unnecessary apprehension of individuals who may not have been gambling or are just bettors who have placed a wager.
A Moralizing Police Force
The Malaysian police has been quite adamant in its resolve to uproot the activity, though. In July, there was an official statement that equated gabling as the “plague of society” and called for tougher actions on anyone who participates or runs such activities. Meanwhile, Interpol has praised the efforts undertaken in Malaysia to nip illegal gambling activities in the bud.
While such sweeping actions have their merits, they also affect businesses. The hard stance on gambling has been indicative of poor performance for a number of companies, including UK-based Playtech, a provider of gaming solutions for land-based and online casinos. Playtech also had to deal with some shareholder woes, with the company’s plummeting on Asia’s black-market woes.
The fact that operators are buffeted by the Asian upheaval against illegitimate gambling dens should send a clear signal that governments in Asia are in fact failing to hold their end of the bargain and create a regulated market.
As a result of the vacuum that inept governance has created, annual raids are now the norm. They put suspects who may not deserve imprisonment or even a criminal record behind bars and that exacerbates the problem.
Flexing their muscles, police forces in Asia are only aggravating the problem.