- Advertisement -

Why no action against Bloomberg if casino report is false, Azmin asks Anwar

The Selangor Bersatu chief says people are wondering why the prime minister is merely denying the report without doing anything to clear his name.

2 minute read
Anwar Ibrahim and Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Anwar Ibrahim and Mohamed Azmin Ali.

Perikatan Nasional information chief Mohamed Azmin Ali has questioned Anwar Ibrahim for not taking action against financial news service Bloomberg, which reported that the prime minister had held talks on a proposal to build Malaysia's second casino in Johor.

"He can make all sorts of claims but right now, if what Bloomberg has reported is not true, people are wondering why the prime minister is not lodging a police report against Bloomberg," he said when met during a campaign trail for the Kuala Kubu Baru by-election.

In the report published last week, Bloomberg said Anwar had met with tycoons Vincent Tan of Berjaya and Lim Kok Thay of Genting, as well as representatives of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, to discuss plans to open a casino in Forest City.

"Anwar, senior government officials and the businessmen had lunch and meetings on the possibility of granting what would only be Malaysia’s second-ever casino licence," the report said, adding that the talks were "preliminary".

Anwar denied the report, calling it a lie, but stopped short of saying whether he would seek a retraction from the US-based media group.

Instead, he called on the parties named in the article to "take the necessary action".

This was followed by denials from Berjaya and Genting Berhad, two companies involved in Malaysia's gambling industry.

Azmin, who was associated with Anwar before their fallout led to a major split in PKR in 2020, was asked if it was out of character for his former boss not to take legal action to clear his name.

"That's what the public is asking. If tough action has been taken against political parties, why not against Bloomberg?" he asked.

"Hence my question: why? That's what people are asking," said Azmin, who is both the Selangor Bersatu chief and the state opposition leader.

He echoed the view of prominent lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who said Anwar must take legal action  to clear his name.

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, Haniff said he could not understand Anwar's call for other parties mentioned in the Bloomberg report to take action when, as prime minister of a Muslim country, he was the one whose reputation was at stake.

He said while such a report could be damaging to a Muslim, it could be seen in a positive light for the two businessmen as they did not consider gambling a religious sin.

"It is he (Anwar) who stands to lose. Indeed, (legal) action should be taken. For me, there is no excuse, firstly because he said the report was false and secondly because he said the people mentioned should take action. That's him!" said Haniff.

Azmin also questioned Anwar's call for other parties to take action.

"Why would he ask these companies to take action when the big name here is the prime minister?"