Gambling On The Jungle?

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Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn has no qualms with the idea of opening a casino in Borneo Highlands.

He said he supports the idea as the casino may help spur the state’s economy.

“I still remember many years ago when Singapore also opposed the idea of having a casino but eventually they allowed gambling in Singapore and we see how it (has) developed. But of course, with all this, we must have certain guidelines to control gambling in our state……

Sagah also believed there is no harm in having a casino, saying that those who don’t know how to gamble or are now allowed to gamble will have no need to visit it.

“We are a free world, but those who have lots of money to gamble – go ahead.



It is perhaps not polite to mention, and founded only on the bleary, baggy-eyed appearance of this minister (for education, of all things), but he looks like a prime target for this casino he proposes.rsz_gamble

Of course, like any self-respecting member of the Sarawak State Government, he is eager to receive money, pretty much however it is made.

Destroying rainforest for cash has been their stock in trade.

But, in this day and age, do busy addicts really need or want to lug themselves up a distant mountain to get stuck into their favourite vices?

Think of all the other things that will need dragging up the hill. Hoards of call girls (the native community are unlikely to have enough daughters for the task), crates of whiskey, drugs, defibrillators, beef, lobster sushi and all the rest.

Think of the expense if it flops after all that effort, since the debauched of South East Asia may well decide to stick nearer the office, for example, in ahead-of-the-game Singapore?

Alternatively, since this project sets out to attract primarily those who are lost to their surroundings, why not put it in a palm plantation, somewhat nearer to Kuching?

Why use this exercise as an excuse to destroy a last remaining sanctuary for Borneo’s unparalleled natural heritage where these folk intend to mow down trees, pollute rivers, blare out rock music and doubtless roll out ‘easy walking trails’ for their hung-over clients to waddle across for ‘exercise’ in between massages and their sad excesses?

The reason is clear. This is one area that has become sacred as a forest sanctuary in the minds of the community, so that even the Sarawak State Government does not dare hand out a concession to Samling or some other crony to flatten it completely.

They are therefore looking for excuses to destroy it for cash some other way.

The reason why tourism has flopped in Sarawak is because they are asking the wrong people and looking for the wrong visitors. The jaded dictators of GPS are not businessmen and they don’t understand the impulses of tourists from free and prosperous countries that might bring them to Sarawak.

There are millions of ‘woke’ Europeans and Americans who long to explore the living world and taste nature in its original state. They have all ‘done’ golf, ‘done’ casinos, ‘done’ the highlife in concrete towers – they had seen it all long before the farm boys from GPS started to think this was the ultimate dream.

However, what they have not done (and might pay to do) is what a few remaining corners of Sarawak can still offer – a chance to experience a genuine community with the fast disappearing world from which humans have arisen, travel up-river in a longboat and explore the jungle on foot.

What fools these aspiring wannabes of GPS have to be, to wish to destroy the one asset where their country can outdo every other!

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