In Anticipation Of Legoland Malaysia?
Posted by ErnieJean on December 16, 2008
Malaysia 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, Putrajaya, Port 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.