Malaysia State Off Limits, Leader Says

Berjaya Assets, a major Malaysian property developer announced plans for a luxury resort in the state of Johor that could include a casino. Only they didn’t bother to tell the state government. The chief executive, Datuk Mohamed Khaled (l.), says a casino is not even remotely possible.

Malaysia State Off Limits, Leader Says

A report that property giant Berjaya Assets is mapping a large-scale resort in the Malaysian state of Johor, possibly with a casino, has been met with a stiff rejection from the state’s chief executive.

Berjaya, an arm of the Berjaya Group conglomerate, has identified an 18-acre site on land near the Malaysia-Singapore causeway, according to Reuters, citing an unnamed source, and is developing plans that call for restaurants and nightclubs as part of an integrated destination aimed at a growing population of middle- and upper-income residents expected to locate in Iskandar Malaysia in the coming years.

But Datuk Mohamed Khaled, the chief executive, who is appointed by the sultan of Johor from the state’s majority political party, said the state will have no casinos as long as he is in office.

He added further that he has yet to hear from Berjaya one way or the other.

“We did not receive any application, proposal or plans on the [casino] project,” he said.

The project would need the approval of state and some federal government agencies to proceed, including Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance, and its ability to attract a steady number of foreigners and locals, if it came to fruition, could pose a competitive threat to Singapore’s two resort casinos.

But Khaled left no doubt that if an application was received, or even if approval was granted by the federal government, Johor would oppose the project to the end that no casino ever gets built.