Zahid’s feeble attempts to save Phua’s skin all in vain


Phua is known globally for his involvement in illegal online sports betting but Zahid says Malaysia would welcome Phua back with open arms.

John Mallot, FMT

Whenever there is an American angle to the news in Malaysia, I become very interested.

So when I read last Saturday that Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) asserting that Paul Phua, a Malaysian citizen who is under US federal indictment in Las Vegas for allegedly running an illegal gambling ring, is someone who has been performing services “on behalf of Malaysia’s national security,” I could not help but be curious.

The Malaysian press and websites have been focusing almost exclusively on whether Phua is a member of the 14K triad.

Personally, I don’t care whether he is or not, because it is irrelevant to the real issue. The real issue is that a Malaysian citizen is allegedly involved in major – let’s put that in capital letters, MAJOR – illegal sports gambling operations in Macau and Las Vegas, activities that led to his arrest this year in both cities.

The South China Morning Post says that the raid on the gambling operations in Macau involving Phua was the largest in its history. As for the US, the FBI has carefully documented the scope of Phua’s sports betting operation in Las Vegas, which reached into tens of millions of US dollars.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a major article on Phua and his involvement in the growing global problem of illegal online sports betting. Yet despite all the news on what Phua has been up to in Macau and the US, Zahid says that Malaysia would welcome Phua back with open arms.

Phua is a “big deal” no matter what his lawyer says

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