Malaysian activist arrested over report of China-backed Forest City’s planned casino in Johor

Malaysian political activist Badrul Hisham Shaharin, also known as Chegubard, has been detained at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters over his post on alleged talks on opening a casino in Forest City in Johor that was reported by Bloomberg.

In a statement by lawyer Rafique Rashid, he said investigations were being conducted under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

He added that an application for remand would be heard at the district police headquarters at about 8.45am on Sunday.

The report also alleged that the casino would revive the US$100 billion property project.

A sign in front of residential apartments in Chinese developer Country Garden’s Forest City in Johor Bahru. Photo: EPA-EFE

Genting Malaysia Bhd said neither the company nor its deputy chairman and chief executive Lim Kok Thay took part in talks with the government about opening a casino in Forest City.

The company denied claims made in a Bloomberg report on Thursday that Lim was involved in such a discussion.

Earlier, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Berjaya Corp Bhd had also denied the report, which claimed discussions were held to discuss the opening of the casino at Forest City.

“Genting Malaysia Bhd wishes to state that neither the company nor Tan Sri Lim was involved in any such discussions or meetings and the claims made are untrue,” Genting Malaysia said in a statement.

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It also urged all parties to immediately cease publication and dissemination of the misinformation, remove the claims and to provide necessary clarification to the public to prevent further confusion.

“Genting Malaysia Bhd shall not hesitate to take further action deemed necessary to protect its interests and its stakeholders,” it said.

Anwar had also earlier affirmed that there were no plans to issue the country’s second casino licence to Forest City.“Those who raised the issue of a casino licence lied. It is not true. That’s a lie,” said Anwar.

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Berjaya Corp had said the article included “inaccurate information” that misrepresented its supposed involvement in discussions with Anwar regarding the Forest City project.

The company’s statement said its founder Vincent Tan had not taken part in any such discussions and refuted the inaccurate claims presented in the article.

Johor Mentri Besar Onn Hafiz Ghazi had also refuted the report that there will be a casino opening in the state.“The rumour is seen as an act of sabotage with an ill intention to taint the name of Forest City and Johor,” Onn Hafiz said in a statement.

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