Challenge mounted on Kedah decision not to renew licensed gaming activities

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 19): A legal challenge has been mounted at the Alor Setar High Court by Liew Han Eng and three others over the recent decision by the Kedah Menteri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Muhamad Sanusi Md Nor not to renew licenses of premises carrying out licensed gaming activities there.

Bukit Gelugor member of Parliament Ramkarpal Singh, who is also DAP National Legal Bureau chairman, said a judicial review application has been filed by the firm of Messrs Karpal Singh & Co at the Alor Setar High Court on Thursday (Nov 18).

“Liew and three others are residents of Alor Setar and are involved in such licensed gaming activities in the past and they had also filed affidavits in support of the application,” he said in a statement last night (Nov 18).

“It will be contended by them, amongst others, that the decision of the Kedah State Government to not renew such gaming licences is ultra vires the Federal Constitution as the power to issue such licenses are exclusively within the jurisdiction of Parliament,” Ramkarpal said.

He added that they will further contend the said decision of the MB is unreasonable and liable to be quashed by the High Court upon an application for judicial review.

“All cause papers will be served on the relevant parties in due course and we hope to obtain an early date for the hearing for leave at the Alor Setar High Court,” Ramkarpal said.

For judicial review cases, leave or permission had to be obtained by the High Court for the case to be heard on its full merits to make sure it is not frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.

Sanusi had on Nov 14 said that the state would not be renewing gaming licenses in the state to ensure the state would be free of gambling activities.

He also told the Kedah legislative assembly that the affected businessman should find alternative business to this as 12 local authorities in the state would not be renewing licenses for gambling activities.

The Kedah MB also said that the non-renewal of gaming licences of all gaming shops there, is not meant to deny the human rights of others or to discriminate against any race in the State.

The decision, Sanusi added, was one way to obey the command of God and to be grateful for the blessings given to the State.

“When I was appointed to lead the government I can see Kedah being blessed. The value of investment coming in is high. In fact, each household in the State received a food basket. So I decided not to renew the licences of gaming shops. It is one way I show how grateful I am for the many blessings that Allah has given to the State.” he added.

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