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Malaysia – Malaysia’s Tourism sector discusses potential of a second Genting Highlands in Borneo

By - 23 March 2023

The potential of a second Genting Highlands resort casino being built in Malaysia has been discussed by some high-profile figures in the Malaysian tourism sector, who have refused to rule out its development in the Borneo Highlands in Sarawak. 

Malaysia’s Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has  

Addressing the press after Chairing the State Tourism Steering Committee, he said: “I can’t say yes or no at the moment. I guess we’ll leave it to the state government to decide whether to allow casinos to be built there. It can be a good idea if regulated properly. Singapore can do it. I think why not, as long as it does not lead to big social problems. A study needs to be done to find out what is the most suitable thing to do with the place.” 

Back in 1994, the Sarawak government reserved a portion of land with an area of 2,071 hectares for the development of a holiday resort in Borneo Highlands but with no development taking place the land was forfeited in 2021, making it state-owned land. 

Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) Sarawak Chapter Chairman John Teo highlighted there was an earlier attempt in the late 90s to open a casino in Borneo. 

As reported by the Borneo Post, he said: “An application to have a casino in Sarawak was proposed in 1997 to 1998 to the then PM (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) through a local tycoon from one of the casino operators in Bario. Due to the Syariah law, it was turned down. 

“If the plan to have the casino in Bario was successful then, Sarawak would be a much richer state and a proper link road up to Bario would have been a dream come true then,” he said. 

“With the influx of tourists going to the casino, as well as many of the high rollers, Sarawak will be able to attract more 5-star properties, 5-star service standards, with 5-star rated touris 

“Indirectly, all the businesses in Sarawak will increase threefold and we will be able to see many more quality tourism products coming up. With all the business coming in, this will lead to Sarawakians earning at least a minimum of RM3,000 salary, not the present RM1,500,” he projected. 

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Sarawak Chapter chairman Oscar Choo added: “Casinos have long been situated as a major stimulus for tourism development as it drives tourism both domestically and internationally into a destination. What’s attractive about casinos is that it draws premium players into the destination who have high spending power.” 

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