RM3b COMPLEX: Tycoon wants to re-apply for licence to operate
BERJAYA group founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan will apply for a licence to operate a casino at Berjaya Hills Resort in Pahang, and will invest RM3 billion initially to set up the complex.
Tan is prepared to pump in the money to turn Berjaya Hills, here, into a world-class tourist destination and Malaysia’s biggest tourism development.
He will also bring in investors to develop the complex, which will include a gaming centre, indoor and outdoor theme parks, food outlets, a retail mall, hotels, a convention centre and holiday homes.
In an interview with Business Times, Tan said he hopes there will be no objections from any parties as the casino complex will benefit Malaysia in foreign exchange gain and economic spillovers.
Tan expects to employ about 10,000 locals to run the complex.
“Malaysians and foreigners are spending their money on gambling, hotels and food in Singapore, Macau, Cambodia, the Philippines and Las Vegas. I’m sure they would like to come here. We can expect hundreds of buses from Singapore to come here.”
Tan had applied for a licence to operate a casino at Berjaya Hills more than 10 years ago but it was rejected amid protests from some quarters.
Berjaya Hills, which is just minutes away from the country’s only casino in Genting Highlands, has a permit to operate slot machines.
“We will re-apply for the licence. Malaysia should not stick to one operator. It should be shared with other operators as tourism developments can generate a lot of income for the country.
“South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are looking to give out licences to operate casinos as they realise the full potential of such developments.
“We will market Berjaya Hills as a new casino destination globally. I have 4,600ha in Berjaya Hills and there is lot that can be done with such a licence.”
Berjaya Hills, which is home to Colmar Tropicale, The Chateau Spa and Organic Wellness Resort, a golf and country club and other recreational facilities, employs about 800 people.
The idea for Berjaya Hills was mooted by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who, after a trip to the Alsace region in France, suggested that Tan replicate the development here.