Pakatan flays Vincent Tan’s ‘charity’ move
By Neville Spykerman and Yow Hong Chieh June 06, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders scoffed at Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s gesture to donate RM525 million profit from selling part of his sports betting company and justification for legalising that business.
The tycoon announced yesterday that the entire payout from selling 70 per cent of Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd to his listed Berjaya Corp Bhd will be donated to his Better Malaysia Foundation.
“If he is really sincere, he should return the sports betting licence and allow the government to have an open tender for it,” DAP publicity chief Tony Pua told The Malaysian Insider.
The Najib administration last month had re-issued the licence to Tan after the original licence was cancelled by the previous Abdullah administration. The tycoon’s son — Datuk Robin Tan Yeong Ching — will retain his 30 per cent stake in the company.
Pua pointed out that Yeong Ching stood to make RM225 million “without lifting a finger”.
Tan yesterday criticised the Opposition, particularly those educated in Oxford, in reference to Pua for objecting the legalisation of sports betting.
He pointed out the government was losing billions in revenue to illegal bookies — who thrive despite the best efforts of the police.
However the Petaling Jaya Utara MP hit back by pointing out that his objection was why the government was letting Tan benefit personally from the award of the licence.
“I can even understand if the licence went to Berjaya Sports Toto but not to a company with no track record owned by Tan and son,” he said.
He added that Tan’s gesture to donate to his own charity did not justify anything.
“The issue is why should the money go to him, not what he does with it,” he said.
Pua also challenged Tan to prove his claim that the government had given him “a first right of refusal” to get the sports betting licensed reissued to him.
Tan had first obtained the licence in 1987 but had “asked the government to take it back” when the venture was unsuccessful. But he has now obtained the right to get the licence back and was exercising it.
“He should show us the contract,” said Pua.
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