The Dandelions

.. the mutual admiration and bashing society.

In Anticipation Of Legoland Malaysia?

Posted by ErnieJean on December 16, 2008

logo1Malaysia to get Legoland theme park by 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Danish toy maker Lego will open a multimillion dollar Legoland theme park in southern Malaysia in 2013, the first such international amusement center in the region.

The 750 million-ringgit ($210 million) park, based on Lego’s colored plastic construction blocks, will be built in the Iskandar development zone in southern Johor state, a spokeswoman for the project said Monday.

The theme park will boost Malaysia’s efforts of turning Johor into a high-tech urban and industrial hub to rival Singapore, a city-state separated from Johor by a narrow waterway.

The Legoland park is a joint venture between Iskandar Investment Bhd., an investment holding company which coordinates the development in the zone launched in 2006, and theme park operator Merlin Entertainments.

So it looks like after unsuccessfully approaching numerous theme park operators, such as Disneyland and Universal Studios, our govnerment has finally managed to convince the creators of LegoLand to “open shop” in Iskandar Malaysia, touted to be the super-duper economic engine of growth. For someone who grew up playing with Lego blocks (and still do with my kids), I SHOULD be surely excited over this piece of news, shouldn’t I?

You know what, like all GLC business ventures that promises the sky, the stars and the moon, I can’t help but have some serious reservations about this. Why? Just look at how “successful” our other bombastic hare-brained projects turned out to be…….Paya Indah Wetlands, Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam, KL Hop On Hop Off Bus System, PutrajayaPort Klang Free Zone………just thinking about the indecent amount of taxpayers’ money being flushed down someone’s pants really gets me all riled up!! 

And everytime some failed government project surfaces, what do our leaders and those responsible do? Shrug their shoulders and says “What to do? Either bail out or close shop lor“……..it never fails!!!!!!

Now, Legoland Malaysia is owned 80% by our very own Iskandar Investment Berhad and the balance by Merlin Entertainment, the designer and operator of the theme park.

And while this joint-venture announces an investment of RM750 million….don’t be fooled into thinking that we’re having RM750million injected into the economy from somewhere else because it sure looks like at least RM500million is going to come from ourselves, folks.

(Business Times Singapore) The government is likely to be tapped for a loan to kick-start the development of the proposed Legoland theme park in south Johor in view of the current credit crunch which has made funding tougher and more expensive to obtain.

A senior government official told BT that the joint venture behind Legoland Malaysia was expected to approach the federal government for a loan not exceeding RM500 million.

“It is difficult to get loans now, so it will have to be Malaysian government sponsored,” he said of the park which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.

Yupe…it does look like Malaysians are funding this project under the guise of “government kick-start loan”……based on what R.O.I, one wonders? That we’ll probably only get back every cent of our “investment” if the theme park successfully fulfills the projection of 1,000,000 visitors a year continuously for a couple of years…..which, with our humid hot climate, it’s going to be quite some tall order, isn’t it? Even HongKong Disneyland, with so much projected potential, is said to be suffering from low-visitor turnouts.

As construction is only estimated to commence in 2010 and be ready to receive visitors in 2013, it does look like it’s going to be a long long long wait before that promised 5000 jobs is realised. And as we all know, many things can happen in 2-3 years time….after all, we’re not known as Bolehland for nothing, you know?

Also, did you also know that Singapore’s Unversal Studios will be opening the same year our Legoland only starts construction? Someone’s got a head start already. And with our knack for “excellent and persistant maintenance culture” (see our Zoo and S’porean Zoo….and you’ll know what I mean), theme-park visitors are going to have a “hard” time deciding which theme-park to visit……why I’m assuming most of them would only pick one to visit is that the entrance fees are not quite that affordable and hence don’t think many people can afford to visit both places in one go.

I only hope my doubts will be proven wrong, since there is the presence of a foreign business partner, in the form of Merlin Entertainment, in this joint-venture and who may need to ensure the success of this project for the benefit of their reputation.

But for now, I’ll just continue feeling the RM500million pinch.

17 Responses to “In Anticipation Of Legoland Malaysia?”

  1. tohca1 said

    Yes for everyone’s sake I really hope you are wrong as well.

    [quote]I only hope my doubts will be proven wrong, since there is the presence of a foreign business partner, in the form of Merlin Entertainment, in this joint-venture and who may need to ensure the success of this project for the benefit of their reputation.[/quote]

    Cheers!
    The Malaysian Explorer

  2. mesoso said

    woohoo..yea !!!

    now mesoso can have lego castle to live in..now..where’s mesoso’s prince gone to??
    🙂

  3. mauryaII said

    Hi erniejean,
    You are spot on about building the lego castle but you missed out on the Johor Safari Park that was supposed to have given the Singapore Night Safari a run for the money.
    The SNF across the causeway is still going strong. What happened to our JSF? It reminds me of the crooked bridge.
    Bolehland is slowly turning into a circus with all the proposed corridors and mega projects. I wonder what the Rosemah man is going to come up with. More corridors in the air to suck the rakyat dry.

  4. erniejean said

    MauryaII……yes….I did leave out our much touted Safari Park, didn’t I….but was it in Malacca or Johor? Anyway, it died without even a whimper.

    Mesoso…I guess your prince will only make his appearance when the castle is up…..LOL!!

  5. peng said

    Let’s pray for a fallout with Lego before any money is wasted on this project. Local holidays are not as cheap and competitive as other South East Asia destinations. My sister told me she has to spend RM2,000 plus for airfare to Sabah (for 2 adults and 2 children)! That’s airfare alone, not including hotel and food and other inland travel costs. Can’t there do the maths first before anything else!

  6. barbie said

    WTF people want to spend money visiting Legoland IN Malaysia when they can visit Universal Studio across the causeway? And, I never know such thing as Legoland before this news came out. That shows how popular Legoland is.

  7. erniejean said

    Peng….going to Phuket is also waaaayyyyy cheaper than Langkawi!!!

    Barbie, beggars can’t be choosers mah…..

    Even the Malaysian Tourist Guide Association have expressed concerned over how to compete with Singapore’s Integrated Resorts. See this report by The Star………..

    Group unhappy over Legoland Theme Park choice
    By MEERA VIJAYAN

    JOHOR BARU: The arrival of the Legoland Theme Park in Iskandar Malaysia comes as a disappointment as Legoland is a brand unfamiliar to locals.

    Malaysian Tourist Guide Council president Jimmy Leong said after all the hype that had been made over proposed theme parks in Nusajaya, Legoland would not make a huge impact in the region.

    “After all the talk about something big coming up in Nusajaya, I am disappointed.

    “Legoland is not a name familiar to people here in terms of a theme park.

    “If you mention Legoland to people here, I don’t think many people are familiar with the brand,” he said, adding that industry players had been expecting world theme park icons like Disneyland.

    Leong said that one of the factors against the RM750mil Legoland was its target audience, as it was restricted to children aged between two and 12-years-old.

    “That itself means that it will not appeal to a wide target group,” he said.

    Leong also pointed out that it would be hard to market Legoland to tourists and entice them to stay for more than a day as Singapore’s Integrated Resorts (IR) had stronger products to offer.

    The attractions at the IR include Universal Studios Singapore, a casino and the Marine Life Park, which was expected to be the largest of its kind in the world.

    “It covers entertainment for a wide range of people, from children to adults.

    “Everyone has something to do at IR whereas Legoland targets a limited age group.

    “Legoland cannot be compared to the IR across the causeway,” he said.

    Leong also said tourists with only a few days to spend in the region would pick bigger and better-known brand theme parks to visit.

    He said the tourism industry players would continue to promote Johor to tourists overseas but admitted it would be a huge challenge to market Legoland.

    “We will promote whatever products we have, but the final choice and decision will be made by the tourists,” he said.

  8. All these corridors are not meant to benefit the rakyat but you know who. I am very sure sooner or later this deal with collapse and the government will have the excuse to pump in more money, not to revive lego project or any other failed projects but to who, again you should know.

  9. Joe Cool said

    Legoland is very famous in UK and Denmark. It is an iconic theme park over there and it attracts children mostly albeit with some teenages. Lego is very popular toy in the west but its very expensive in Malaysia.
    Having said that, the people shouldnt be paying for this development. Why would we want to take an 80% stake?? Its a pure waste of resources. Lets not take HK Disneyland…look at Paris Disneyland…its also losing money and that is in Europe…Trust me…having visited Legoland a few times in UK it will not be cheap to enter. IT is very expensive. A day outing in Legoland for 2 + 2 will set you back no less than GBP100 and that is RM620….how many locals can afford this luxury…..

  10. johanssm / khun Pana said

    Okay, so we will have Legoland.
    It is not as famous as Disney but similar in rides and attraction .
    It is not really a tourist puller but considering that Malaysia is an ‘attraction” to Arabic tourist , LegoLand looks very neutral.
    As Disney will have Percy Pig , patricia Pig, goofy Dog,arizona Dog and Pluto. they are “haram’ lah. It is really a none issue, but in Malaysia we still have weird politicians and mullahs making toony characters as big religion issue.
    i say the management people of Walt Disney made a wise decision to skip Malaysia.

    Who will invest in it? Definitely not the Lego company. As in business we will have to consider the “down time”. Malaysia is a place known for thunderstorm. A huge theme park will need thousands of workers on minimum pay.But they will not be Malaysian workers. Retailer kiosks will be held by some crony individuals who will rents out the retailing space at above the ceiling rental rates to “bumiputera entrepreneurs”.
    I wont say it is a bad investment as bn cronies will be taking profits.

    (pls take note that my above comment was posted in MT as well)

  11. mesoso said

    but..but..mesoso will get to live in lego castle wor..but must find prince, so can live happily ever after…hehe
    😀

  12. I have to say, that I could not agree with you in 100%, but that’s just my opinion, which could be very wrong.
    p.s. You have an awesome template . Where did you find it?

  13. I have to say, that I can not agree with you in 100%, but it’s just my opinion, which could be very wrong.
    p.s. You have a very good template . Where did you find it?

  14. chen yi chuan said

    I have studied sculpture, I am interested in working in legoland malaysia Where can I sign in

  15. Universal Studios is still one of the best film studios and you can also visit their offices “

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