BINTULU, May 2 — Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has slammed Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) Sarawak commissioner Jofri Jaraiee for claiming that the opening of a casino in Sarawak would do more harm than good.

In a statement, Tiong said the PAS leader is often seen as using religion when issuing statements which could threaten the harmony of the multi-religious and multi-racial communities in the country just to gain popularity.

“Such action is dangerous and can caused dissension among the community,” he said, adding that it would also complicate the government’s efforts to bring greater economic development in Sarawak.

Tiong was responding to Jofri’s recent statement that the proposed opening of casinos in Sarawak should be opposed as it would do more harm than good to the people.


As a Sarawakian, Tiong said he also shoulders a heavy responsibility at the federal ministry-level to bring development in the country.

“My stance on the proposed construction of an amusement park and golf course including a casino in Borneo Highlands is clear, which is up to the decision of the state government led by the Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg, as stated by the Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah,” he added.

Tiong is confident that the existence of an amusement park and a golf course, including a casino at Borneo Highlands could promote tourism in Sarawak, create many job opportunities, drive the local economy and generate more income for Sarawak.


“Once the plan is confirmed and implemented, the basic facilities and tourist attractions in the surrounding area will also be improved. Of course, the Sarawak government can also use this income to develop rural areas.

“If it can create a good and encouraging economic cycle for the benefit of the people, why should it be prevented or objected?” he asked.

Tiong said the proposed projects are for the future development of the people in Sarawak, especially to fulfil the dream of the rural community in securing basic facilities.

He pointed out that the rural people ought to get the same amenities as what are being enjoyed by the people in urban areas, including good road infrastructure.

“This needs to be improved and one way is to increase the state’s income in order to meet the people’s expectations.”

Tiong said if anyone is worried that the existence of a casino will cause social problems, then a proper supervision should be provided such as allowing foreigners to enter the casino at any time.

“If they are local people, then they must comply with the specific rules to enter the casino, and other relevant conditions that it deems necessary to be implemented,” Tiong added.

He said although Malaysia is a multi-racial and religious country, the mindset and behaviour of some politicians in the country are more conservative than some of the Middle Eastern countries.

“Many Middle Eastern countries are gradually moving towards moderation. For example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which will host Miss World 2023 this year and there are luxury casinos in the Middle East. So, is Malaysia in particular Sarawak not entitled to be developed?” he said. — Borneo Post Online