Former national footballer Radhi Mat Din was unveiled as the poster boy for the PAS nation-wide anti-sports betting campaign, at a ceramah at the 56th PAS muktamar in Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan late last night.
The Kedah state football coach (right) spoke to the 3000-strong crowd after kicking off the Kelantan-level campaign at the Islamic Tarbiyah Centre where the muktamar is being held.
He decried the federal government's legalisation of sports betting after its failure to curb illegal gambling.
He laments the reduction of the sport into one of profit and loss, saying the focus on money will cause the decline of the game.
"They will bet on everything. Public perception will shift from the quality of the game to what to bet in sports. Games will be orchestrated by the proxies of betting companies turning what is the game of sport into a puppet-show,” he said.
He predicted that players and coaches will in future be bribed with huge amounts of cash for the benefit of certain parties. The problem can only get worse off from there. The youth will be the most vulnerable, since they constitute 80 percent of sport fans
"What will happen to future generations if the government legalises sports betting? If they fall into this bad habit at a young age, they will be trapped in it until they grow up. In the end, it will result in families of gamblers, who shall form a society of gamblers, and turn us into a nation of gamblers," he added.
Radhi then exhorted the crowd to join the mammoth rally planned for July 3 which will see 100,000 protesters march through Kuala Lumpur to submit a memorandum of protest to the Agong.
He said that the rally is important to pressure the government to ban sports betting, something which will not happen without public support.
"The people of Malaysia must rise and fight this evil," he said.
He also called on former premier Mahathir Mohammad and Abdulah Ahmad Badawi, and opposition leaders Kelantan MB Nik Aziz Nik Mat, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and DAP stalwarts Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh to join in the rally.
Yesterday the PAS muktamar passed a resolution condemning sports betting and calling for the federal government not to re-issue the sports betting licence to Ascot Sports.
One of the strategies outlined was to channel the party mechanism and the grassroots into the massive July 3 initiative to make it a success. PAS is one of the organisations behind the Movement to Ban Gambling (GMJ), the main organiser for the mammoth rally.