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Breaking News : Anwar Orders Magnum, Sports Toto & Da Ma Cai Lottery Draws To Be Reduced From 22 Times Yearly To Only 8 Times

Number forecast firms will have to go back to just eight special lottery draws in a calendar year starting January 1 next year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced today.

Anwar said the move is part of his government’s push to carry out its duties transparently without heavily relying on what he described as “wang haram”, which literally means “forbidden money”.

“To do this for example, in my first day as finance minister, I have ordered the cancellation of the decision made earlier this year by the Cabinet that comprised Bersatu and PAS that the special lottery draw can be increased to 22 from just eight days,” he told a press conference held this evening after a special Cabinet meeting in Putrajaya this morning.

“I have ordered that the special lottery draw be maintained at the previous rate of eight days starting January 1, 2023.”

Today’s decision is a reversal of the policy rolled out by the previous government under then Perikatan Nasional (PN) prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, which he justified as a way to beef up government coffers during the pandemic.

The move to raise the special lottery draw to 22 times a year was met with protests from both within Muhyiddin’s government and opposition lawmakers, including from the DAP.

In 2018, the then Pakatan Harapan government had decided to reduce the frequency of special draws to just 11 times in 2019, compared to 22 in 2018 set by the previous Barisan Nasional government.

Special draws are run by number forecast operators like Magnum, Sports Toto and Da Ma Cai.

Between 2008 and 2012, the federal government collected an average of RM1.26 billion a year from the industry.

Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng revealed in 2019 that the sin tax collected from gambling activities in the preceding year amounted to RM4.5 billion.

Anwar, also MP for Tambun, suggested that gambling revenue might have been used to fund campaign elections but did not provide evidence. Instead, the prime minister said he would have to “check on that”.

Although he did not specify any party or politician in the allegation, it was believed to have been a reference to Muhyiddin’s PN coalition that included the PAS Islamist party.

“Certainly, the funds would have been used to finance elections (campaign) but need to check on that,” he said.

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