By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA) – Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Monday said gambling money was “partly” used to fund elections in the Southeast Asian nation.
“On the issue of gambling, certainly, this is partly used to finance the elections,” Anwar told a news conference after chairing his first Cabinet meeting in the capital Kuala Lumpur.
“Whether you call yourself a Malay party or Islamic party, notwithstanding, the funds come from the gambling gaming companies,” he said in reply to a question.
The prime minister added he has issued directions to keep a “check” on the issue.
Anwar, who is also the finance minister of Malaysia, said the Cabinet has “decided to cancel a decision made earlier this year on the gambling draws.”
Only eight special draws for 4D numbers will be allowed annually from next year, he added. Four-Digits, or 4D, is a lottery system in Malaysia.
A reformist leader, Anwar, 75, was inaugurated as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister last month and is leading a unity government, formed among his Alliance of Hope or Pakatan Harapan (PH), National Front, or Barisan Nasional (BN) and Sarawak Parties Alliance or Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
Malaysia held its 15th general elections last month which threw up a hung parliament of 222 seats. PH was leading with 82 seats.
He announced his Cabinet of 27 members last Friday, including two deputy prime ministers – Ahmad Zahid Hamidi of the BN and Fadillah Yusof of the GPS.
On the issue of corruption, Anwar told reporters: “We are determined and I have made it very clear … the ministers are clear on the issue of governance and anti-corruption drive … there is no compromise on that.”
Anwar blamed, what he called, kleptocracy for corruption.
“Kleptocracy means a system that allows leaders to steal. Now, those who have been saying this (accountability) should not confine it to any particular person ... it is the system,” he responded to a question.
Without naming anyone, he said: “It is interesting that those who have been using this kleptocracy are themselves very much compromised in many big dealings, benefiting their son, children or in-laws.”
“I must remind them, that if you really want to get to the bottom of it, you must be prepared to be truly transparent and be investigated. Investigations cannot be selective, that is our position,” he added.
Anwar said he believes and trusts his “Cabinet team is determined to ensure that we follow strict rules and principles of good governance.”
He added Cabinet members will take a 20% salary cut until the country’s economy recovers.
On the state-owned 5G network introduced by the previous government, Anwar replied: "It needs to be reviewed because it was not done in a transparent manner."