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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Khazanah Nasional mum on Disney link in Iskandar Malaysia

Channel News Asia

By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 16 April 2008 2251 hrs

SINGAPORE : Malaysia's state investment arm Khazanah Nasional said it is in talks to develop a theme park in Iskandar Malaysia - the special economic zone in southern Johor.

It did not give any names and would neither confirm nor deny reports that have linked Walt Disney with setting up a resort there.

Disneyland has at one point or another been courted by several Southeast Asian countries. The talk now is that Walt Disney could be making its way to the Iskandar Malaysia development in southern Johor.

Khazanah Nasional said some 2,200 acres of land have been set aside for theme park use, and has already started the process of courting potential investors.

"There's a handful of branded theme park operators... All the various players have shown strong interest, except for Universal. We are very confident, and the process is ongoing. The investment size has not (been) announced yet, but it's sufficient to say that it will be (in the) multi-billion ringgit (range)," said Azman Mokhtar, Managing Director of Khazanah Nasional.

Universal Studio is unable to take part as it has signed an exclusive deal with Resorts World at Sentosa for the next 30 years.

Development at the Johor special economic zone is well on track. It has attracted some 33 billion ringgit (S$14 billion) of investments so far - that's 70% of its target by 2010.

Singapore companies are among the top three investors in Johor. Khazanah said the Jurong Town Investment Corporation is also understood to have invested in UEM Land's Southern Industrial and Logistics Centre.

It added that the slowdown in the global economy has no negative impact on the Iskandar project.

The companies involved in the development of Iskandar Malaysia have also set up a liaison office at UOB Plaza in Singapore. It will be manned by five people to manage marketing activities as well as conduct surveys on Singaporeans' interests.

Some 1.3 million ringgit (S$556,900) was spent to promote the Iskandar development at the Cityscape Asia exhibition. The exhibits are expected to make its way to Dubai at the end of the year. - CNA /ls


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