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High Court Overturns Betting Ban In Landmark Decision

High Court Overturns Betting Ban In Landmark Decision

In a significant legal development, the High Court in Alor Setar has declared the Kedah government’s decision to stop issuing and renewing business licenses for gaming operators as unconstitutional.

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The Kedah government’s controversial decision to halt the issuance and renewal of business licenses for gaming operators has been dealt a blow by the High Court in Alor Setar, which ruled the move unconstitutional.

The judgment, delivered by Judge Mahazan Mat Taib on 20 June, determined that the decision, passed during a state executive council meeting, violated the Federal Constitution and was thus ultra vires.

The case was brought to the court by representatives of three gaming companies who filed suit against the Kedah government.

The High Court’s ruling noted that the Alor Setar City Council had also notified the operators, stating that all related business premises licenses would no longer be renewed following the state executive council’s decision on 8 December 2021.

In its judgment, the High Court cited Articles 73, 74, 75, and 80(1) of the Federal Constitution, asserting that the state government’s decision was illegal and must be revoked.

The court also ordered the defendants, including the Kedah government, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, Alor Setar City Council, and its mayor, Datuk Mohd Yusri Md Daud, to compensate the plaintiffs for their losses.

The Kedah government has since filed an appeal against the decision, setting the stage for a prolonged legal battle over the constitutionality of the gaming license ban.

Perlis Gaming License Ban Faces Legal Challenge, Moves to Court of Appeal

In a related development, a similar case in Perlis, where Sports Toto Malaysia and four other parties challenged the state government’s decision to stop allowing betting outlets to apply for business premises licenses, has been brought to the Court of Appeal for pre-trial case management.

The plaintiffs had initially filed for judicial review in July 2022.

Still, the Kangar High Court dismissed their application in January 2023, prompting them to escalate the matter to the Court of Appeal.

The plaintiffs in the Perlis case argue that the Kangar Municipal Council’s directive to cease renewing gaming outlet licenses, issued on 27 April 2023, was ultra vires and violated the Federal Constitution.

They contend that the decision has led to unemployment and loss of income among employees and infringed upon the rights of non-Muslims.

As these legal battles unfold, the debate surrounding the constitutionality of gaming license bans in Malaysia intensifies.

The outcomes of these cases could have far-reaching implications for the gaming industry and the country’s balance between state and federal powers.

The ongoing legal proceedings also reflect the complex interplay of religious, cultural, and economic factors that shape the discourse on gambling in Malaysia’s diverse society.

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