Malaysia is considering a casino as part of a special economic zone plan to revitalize Forest City, officials say

But supporters of the casino see such a development as a boon to the economy of the 2,000-hectare Forest City area off Singapore’s west coast, which is about four times the size of Sentosa Island, and the entire state of Johor. There is.

Several Johor-based businessmen also told ST that plans for a casino in Johor had been under discussion for more than a decade as the Iskandar area in southern Johor, which was envisioned as a development corridor in 2006, had not lived up to expectations. He said that he has been

“There wasn’t a strong pull factor. A casino would have a huge ripple effect because high-value individuals would come here and stimulate other commercial sectors,” he said. An interested businessman told ST.

The Johor state government announced on April 22 that 70 per cent of Forest City’s properties have been sold, but Forest City has repeatedly been referred to as a “ghost town” due to low occupancy.

Forest City is being built by a joint venture led by Chinese developer Country Garden Holdings. Sultan Ibrahim himself controls about one-fifth of the joint venture.

Although it is politically sensitive because Islam prohibits gambling, those who support the idea argue that the existing casino in Genting Highlands is closed to the public because regulations prohibit Muslims from entering gambling establishments. He points out that it has been operating without problems for more than half a century. Many Muslims visit Genting Highlands to enjoy the cool mountain air and attractions such as theme parks, restaurants, and retail shops.

According to its annual report, Genting Malaysia, which primarily operates highland resorts, several beach resorts in Malaysia and small businesses overseas, had a It contributed nearly RM5 billion to the national treasury every year.

A similar boost with new gaming-based attractions will help ease Anwar’s government’s struggle to rein in the budget deficit, which has inherited more than RM1.5 trillion in debt and debt.

In a note to customers, UOB-Kei Hian said that while the new casino, if implemented, would likely not affect Genting Highlands, which is frequented mainly by Klang Valley visitors. “Genting Singapore has a different landscape and customer profile” and “there will be cannibalization with casinos”. A potential Forest City casino will eventually be liquidated. ”

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