Malaysian authorities and the government are discussing the building of the second Genting Highlands resort casino, and they came to a disagreement on the matter. The Malaysian tourism sector still doesn’t want to rule out the development of the casino, which is planned to be built in the Borneo Highlands in Sarawak. 

Waiting for the decision of the state government:

Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, the Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts in Malaysia, commented on the recent events: “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.” 

The story about Malaysian casinos goes back to 1994 when the Sarawak government wanted to build a casino on 2,071 hectares of land. Since nothing has happened since then, the state acquired the land in 2021.

John Teo, Sarawak Chapter Chairman at Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH), 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.”

He thinks that Sarawak would greatly benefit from the casino since this destination would become popular among tourists who want to enjoy many 5-star properties and services. It would be amazing for residents of Sarawak since it would mean that their salaries would double when the state gains popularity and finances. Also, many residents would get new jobs in an amazing new casino, which will greatly increase the whole economic situation in the area.

Huge expectations for Malaysian tourism:

Oscar Choo, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Sarawak Chapter Chairman, thinks that casinos are very important for the tourism industry. Both domestic and international customers will come to the destination, and what’s best is that those tourists are mostly the high-paying ones, so a huge amount of money would be spent in Sarawak.

However, the building of the second location in Sarawak would be challenging. The tourism infrastructure has to be improved in order to establish a luxurious casino resort.

Now, everything’s up to the state government. The area needs maintenance, and it is needed fast – some buildings in the area are in bad shape, and even some roads need to be maintained properly if the casino wants to draw customers.