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One Malaysia
3,031 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 28 May 2006 2256 hrs

Malaysia in talks for a Disneyland theme park: report

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia is in talks with the Japanese operator of Tokyo Disneyland to bring the first Disney theme park to Southeast Asia, a report said Sunday.

Malaysian government officials and representatives from the government-linked conglomerate UEM World are negotiating with Oriental Land to bring the theme park to the southern state of Johor, the Edge financial weekly said.

"The discussions are progressing well. The Disney theme park may occupy about 2,000 acres (800 hectares) of Nusajaya," said the unnamed source.

Bandar Nusajaya is UEM's 23,000-acre township on the southwestern tip of Johor, the state that lies nearest to Singapore.

A Disney theme park would be a major boost for the tourism industry in Malaysia, which competes with Singapore to attract visitors.

The Edge said the planned Disney theme park would be bigger than the two integrated resorts being planned in Singapore.

It said Disney is interested in Nusajaya as it would not compete with its other parks in Hong Kong and Tokyo and a new one planned in Shanghai.

Las Vegas Sands recently won a bid for Singapore's first integrated resort licence, giving it the right to develop a multi-billion dollar gaming, entertainment and convention complex, edging out Malaysia's sole casino operator, Genting International and other contenders. - AFP/ir

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Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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May 25, 2006

Rumors of 'Malaysia Disneyland'
By Laurence Lau

Could Disneyland be headed for Malaysia? If market insiders in Kuala Lumpur are to be believed, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, now in Japan for a five-day working trip, will meet with officials from Oriental Land, the Japanese partner for Tokyo Disneyland, with the aim of bringing Disneyland to Nusajaya. Nusajaya is a large "new township development", or planned city, near the Second Link (a bridge between Malaysia and Singapore) in southern Malaysia's Johor state, just across the Johor Strait from Singapore.

Though no official statement has been issued by any of the governments or companies involved, the rumors were lent credence by the fact that officials from UEM World, the biggest landowner in Nusajaya, were said to be accompanying Abdullah. The prime minister's contingent also reportedly includes Azman Mokhtar, the managing director of Khazanah, which is UEM World's largest shareholder.

Abdullah is said to have already met with top Disney officials early this month, when he was attending the World Congress for Information Technology 2006 in the United States. A source at a top-three regional brokerage familiar with the Disneyland-Nusajaya overture believes that Abdullah's team is in Tokyo to make a serious pitch, with sweeteners that may include offering Disney an internationally competitive package of incentives. Should the pitch be successful, any announcement of Disney making an entry into Malaysia would improve dramatically the values of land near Nusajaya.

While the Disney rumblings are still at the level of rumor, sources say the rumor has a high level of reliability and a decent chance of success. The reports raise several immediate issues.

First, it is believed that Disney will be more positive for the project going ahead if Malaysia can rope in the Japanese operator as a partner. Oriental Land has an excellent track record with the company; its first park in Urayasu, Chiba prefecture, which opened in 1983, and the later addition DisneySea are both still highly successful. By engaging Oriental Land, Disney would have a higher chance of successful execution should the project get the go-ahead. Oriental Land's involvement would also ensure proper follow-through (execution) and a strict adherence to the firm's management style and operational culture. These issues, not just financial viability, are major concerns when it comes to the track record of Malaysian government-linked companies (GLCs), particularly given Disney's strong corporate culture.

Second, the implications for the perpetual, sibling-rivalry-like competition between Singapore and Malaysia are another aspect worth exploring. Some say the Disney overtures could be a retaliatory move on Malaysia's part after the recent disastrous talks over the construction of a new bridge for the causeway between the two countries. Over the past 12 months, Singapore has hogged the limelight in terms of big tourism projects with its huge integrated resort/casino projects at two sites in Marina Bay and Sentosa Island. The winning bidders for the two integrated resorts (IRs) paid a very steep price for their winning bids, but none managed to rope in Disney as partner, reportedly because Disney did not want to tarnish its wholesome image entering a partnership with a casino project. The likely winner for Marina Bay IR is likely to be either Harrah's or MGM, while Genting should get the Sentosa IR with Universal Studios as its partner.

A comparison between the Singapore IRs and the hypothesized Nusajaya Disney park is revealing. The winning IR bidders will have to cough up S$1.2 billion (US$758 million) for the Marina Bay IR and S$605 million for the Sentosa IR for the land alone. But should Disneyland decide to go to Nusajaya, chances are the land will be almost free. Not only that, a Disney park would benefit from tourists visiting the two IRs, in effect getting a free ride on Singapore's promotional efforts. Of the two, the attrition impact would be greater on the Sentosa project, since its Universal Studios theme park would inevitably be competing with, and be compared with, Disneyland just a couple of hours away - no contest, many would say, especially considering that a Disney facility would be able to price its products and services a lot cheaper.

Third, a Nusajaya Disneyland would seem to have excellent prospects with regard to critical market mass and the availability of transportation services. Any viability study would reveal the same factors that already successfully justified the initiation of the Marina Bay and Sentosa IR projects. In addition, there are two potential international landing strips in Johor, which would boost both the hypothetical park's prospects and those of such feeder airlines as AirAsia (the Kuala Lumpur-based low-cost carrier) and Malaysian Airlines.

AirAsia is already proving to be very successful in ferrying regional travelers at very attractive rates. Imagine the ability to offer routes from Phuket, Bangkok, Hat Yai (in southern Thailand), eastern Malaysia, Hong Kong, Bali or Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur or Johor Baru (Malaysia's second-largest city, adjacent to Singapore) for less than RM200 return ($55) - which is approximately AirAsia's current pricing structure. The availability of such low-cost air services could sway Disney's decision. Malaysia's population on its own is insufficient to justify a Disneyland, but the country's low-cost air connections and the additional traffic drawn from Singapore's IRs might be enough to seal the deal. One wonders whether AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes is also part of the Badawi contingent - he should be.

Fourth, the chances of the project being realized are greater given that Disney holds strong cards in terms of negotiating with Malaysian authorities, and the company is liable to be attracted to Nusajaya since it would have a sharply reduced "cannibalizing" effect on the firm's existing parks. Nusajaya has a huge land area, big enough for five or six Disneylands with space for resorts and hotels. Given that a Disney park would be crucial in giving Nusajaya the critical mass for success, Badawi and UEM World would probably agree to most of Disney's requests - which might include free land, a waiver of the requirement for 30% bumiputra (ethnic Malay) holdings, tax incentives, and so on.

From Disney's standpoint, it is running out of room to grow after the opening of Hong Kong Disney last year. A Nusajaya Disney would be far enough away from the locations in Hong Kong, Tokyo and a proposed Shanghai park to capture the regional crowd without cannibalizing the crowds at other regional Disneylands. It would be silly for Disney not to do the project.

In all probability, Singapore has inadvertently helped Malaysia to snare Disney for Nusajaya. However, the development would benefit both countries, and should not be used to score political points on either side of the Johor Strait.

May 23, 2006

Disneyland for southern Johor?

Who says PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is 'listless' and not capable of mega projects?

This afternoon, as Malaysiakini was preparing to publish its interview with Dr Mahathir, words had it that Abdullah, who is now in Japan, is scheduled to meet officials from Tokyo Disneyland. The agenda: To bring Disneyland to Nusajaya, near the Second Link in southern Johor.

Little Birds said the financial circle has been tipped off that officials from UEM Land, a 100% subsidiary of UEM World, are tagging along with Abdullah in Tokyo right now. The PM's contingent also includes Azman Mokhtar, the MD of Khazanah, which is also UEM World's largest shareholder.

Abdullah is said to have already met top Disney officials early this month when he was attending the World Congress for IT (WCIT2006) in the US.

People familiar with the Disneyland-Nusajaya overture believe that Abdullah's team is in Tokyo to make a serious pitch, with sweeteners that may include offering Disney an internationally competitive package of incentives.

Though the key FDI barrier in Malaysia takes the form of the 30% bumiputra ownership requirement and land ownership issues, Little Birds said certain present investment policies for the commercial and tourism sector may be liberalised for the purpose.

Should the pitch be successful, any announcement of Disney making an entry into Malaysia would improve dramatically the values of land near Nusajaya, said financial analysts. And UEM World is the biggest landowner in Nusajaya, a plan crafted during the Mahathir era.

From Sinchew Daily -

updated:2006-05-26 20:30:31 MYT





努莎再也與馬新第二通道毗鄰,上述報導指出,若迪士尼樂園果真入駐努莎再也地區,不僅將吸引來自新加坡的訪客,也將連帶吸引未來前往新加坡綜合娛樂城消費的外國訪客。 (星洲日報‧2006/05/26)

Johor to build Disneyland?
Long (translated) refused to give direct answer
updated:2006-05-26 20:30:31 MYT

JB: The president of Johor state tourism & environment committee, Mr. Long's did not confirm nor deny the news that a Disneyland theme park would be built in the state.

According to an's report, Malaysia might be home to the 4th Disneyland theme park in Asia.

In regards to the news report, Long replied to Sinchew Daily's reporter that the project is currently on negotiation stage. The final decision shall be made by the federal government.

When asked whether Disneyland would be built in Nusajaya, the new state administrative centre, Long briefly replied, "may be," and refused to release further information.

Nusajaya is adjacent to the Second Link to Singapore. According to the news report, if Disneyland made an entry into Nusajaya, it would attract both Singaporean visitors and foreign tourists who visit Singapore's IRs.
-- Sinchew Daily 2006/05/26

2,713 Posts
^Hong Kong is considered Far East/Northeast Asia. Vietnam and southward is considered SE Asia. Great! Another Disneyland. Who will be the main visitors though? I am not sure about this one on the other hand. A disneyland in Australia may be more successful.

Pubescent Singaporean
570 Posts
There's a huge demographic in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand waiting to be engaged.

entendre privilege
37,522 Posts
Agree for Singapore;)

Couch Weight
2,945 Posts
Great news indeed. However, HK Disneyland is much closer to Manila than Johor. Anyway, it's worth a try though, if it pushes through.

47,229 Posts
great news for Malaysia i hope it gets built.

273 Posts
Siopao said:
Id rather love Singapore Disneyland.
well...if i remember correctly, Disney once held discussions with the Singapore government many years back (mid 90s i think) about bringing the park to Singapore.

BUT the S'pore government did not agree. Land in S'pore was simply too scarce and valuable to be invested in a tacky theme park. Disney was eyeing a huge plot of land near the north-east (seletar); the s'pore govt refused, citing that the land was earmarked for residential and military developments.

Im glad it's in JB, i can get there in less than an hour.
As for Disney, NIMBY, go away.
The talks failed...and frankly, im glad.

125,609 Posts
Is there enough brand recognition in Southeast Asia for Disneyland to thrive? Hong Kong Disneyland is now trying to introduce the Disney brand to mainland Chinese so they will have more reasons to visit the Hong Kong park.

The long-term economic effects of such a large-scale theme park are enormous, especially with the backing of such a large multinational corporation. Skeptics that argue the cost factor may be a little short-sighted in analyzing the numbers.

One Malaysia
3,031 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Making of Johor Disneyland?

THERE has been no official word but the talk is that preliminary meetings have been held to get Disneyland to Johor.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was in Japan for a five-day working trip, reportedly met officials from Oriental Land, the Japanese partner of Tokyo Disneyland.

The plan, according to speculation, was to bring Mickey Mouse and the fantasyland to the proposed 9,645ha Nusajaya, a massive new township in the southern Johor corridor.

The state is said to have set aside 960ha and investments worth RM2bil for the plan, which could create 20,000 jobs.

Interestingly, in April last year, Abdullah said he had no objection if Disney were to come to Johor.

Following that remark, Singapore’s Straits Times contacted Michelle Nachum, the spokesman for Disney theme parks in California for a confirmation but all she was prepared to say was that Disney constantly evaluated strategic markets around the world.

She would not confirm or deny that Johor was on the list.

No one is surprised that Singapore is keeping a close watch on developments in neighbouring Johor. The Lion City, in fact, almost got its own Disneyland in the Seletar area but the plan fell through.

It was reported last year that negotiations went so far as identifying the site and the government was even prepared to add another station to the North-South MRT Line, with the reservoir as a backdrop.

Singapore Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kang was quoted in the Straits Times as saying that in the end, it did not work out because Disney wanted a 300ha chunk of land and was not prepared to pay for it.

Lim told Parliament that this happened in the 1990s when the government was keen to attract a major theme park like Disneyland or Universal Studios to set up in Singapore, saying “theme park operators are actually content providers, they really only provide the software and the intellectual property.”

He said they wouldn’t “want to put in too much of their own money” and that “they earn a development fee even before the theme park operations starts” – management fees would be added when operation started, followed by a cut of the gate takings.

Johor, on the other hand, has plenty of land. It is ready to offer up to 1,000ha of land and in comparison to Hong Kong’s 70ha and Singapore’s reluctance to give up 300ha, the southern state has a distinct advantage.

But running theme parks is not easy, especially in South-East Asia. The humid weather obviously works against us in Malaysia, especially when visitors have to do plenty of walking and waiting in a sprawling theme park.

The theme park in Genting Highlands is successful because of its cool weather and not forgetting the casino element.

The Sunway Lagoon’s wet concept is also successful, given the fact that Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, which have no beaches, have a big market.

The present Disney locations are in California, Florida, Paris, Hong Kong and soon, Shanghai.

Florida has warm weather but it is not humid, unlike Malaysia, and can be windy at times.

But our hot weather need not necessarily be a minus point.

The Formula One race in Kuala Lumpur is now touted the “hottest race on earth” and even the monsoon season in Terengganu has helped put Malaysia on the world map with the Monsoon Cup.

Singapore has had two bad experiences – the 12ha Tiger Balm Gardens, set up in 1935, which later became the Haw Par Villa. It had over 1,000 statues depicting Chinese legends but visitors found them gruesome.

It lost RM72mil.

The Tang Dynasty City was another flop, with one report finding the place too hot on sunny days, having too much concrete with too few shelters and people having to queue up for 40 minutes for a boat ride.

It was part of a comprehensive finding by National University of Singapore’s Associate Prof Peggy Teo, who does research on tourism.

Since then Singapore has played safe, preferring the air-conditioned indoor kind of theme parks such as Underwater World and Snowcity.

Malaysia has taken the right direction by planning new tourist attractions as scenic spots and shopping malls alone won’t do, especially if we wish to get repeat visitors. That was the view of some Arab tourists, interviewed by a newspaper here recently. Our country should also not be in the category of short-stay destination.

More attractions need to be created as the tourism industry becomes more competitive.

Huge sums of money have to be invested to shift world attention to Malaysia.

For example, Brazil paid more than US$1mil (RM3.6mil) to the Rolling Stones for a one-night concert recently. Although the city treated its people and tourists to the free concert, it drew world attention. Shanghai also paid for the ageing rockers.

But in Malaysia, our politicians and some sections of the people may not be so receptive; but it is a small sum to pay for assured global advertisement.

As travelling becomes easier, tourists have also become more demanding. They expect their tour guides to know what they are talking about, having done their research on the Internet before they started their visits.

If they wish to visit a zoo, it must be like San Diego Zoo, a world-class outfit, or a safari park, where animals are allowed to roam freely and not locked up.

Snakes and crocodiles are also passe now.

Plenty of homework needs to be done, especially on the financial prospect of attracting regional visitors, if we wish to set up world-class theme parks here.

Malaysians would surely like to see Mickey Mouse in Nusajaya but we believe careful planning and plenty of common sense are needed as massive public funds would be involved, so that no one takes the mickey out of us.

Malaysia says in talks for Disney theme park (Updated)

Government officials have held talks with executives from Oriental Land Co Ltd, a Japanese firm that operates Tokyo Disneyland, to run a similar park in Malaysia, The Edge financial weekly reported at the weekend, citing sources.

"We are exploring all options because in the southern corridor development we want it to be comprehensive, we want it to be an attractive region," Economic Planning Minister Effendi Norwawi told reporters on May 30.

"So it will include theme parks and other attractions, so we are hoping to get Disney, but we are discussing with several other parties to see which is the most realisable option."

"Yes, we have been in discussions with Tokyo and also with Disney in the US," he added, without giving further details.

Japan's Oriental Land confirmed that it had done some research in Johor on a possible leisure business, but said the project was not related to Disney.

"We are only a Disney licensee. We have no rights to set up a Disney park nor provide advice on its operations," said an Oriental Land spokesman.

The Japanese company late last year did research to see if a leisure business was possible on request from the Malaysian government, he said. No decision has been made following the research, he added.

The Japanese company has conducted such research in several countries in the past, he said.

Malaysia is keen to develop Johor state, which is separated by a thin strip of water from Singapore, which is itself chasing the tourist dollar by developing a casino industry.

The theme park could occupy 800ha in Nusajaya, part of a 9,200ha township being developed by state-controlled UEM World Bhd, The Edge said.

Tokyo Disneyland is one of Asia's top tourist sites and, with the adjacent DisneySea, draws 25 million visitors a year. - Reuters

One Malaysia
3,031 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
May 30, 2006 12:21 PM this news

Malaysia Aims To Build 'Disneyland' Theme Park In Johor

PUTRAJAYA, May 30 (Bernama) - The government is seeking the best option to explore opportunities to build a theme park like "Disneyland" in Johor, says Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohd Effendi Norwawi.

He said this Tuesday in response to local news reports that Malaysia was in talks with the Japanese operator of Tokyo Disneyland to bring the first Disney theme park to Southeast Asia.

The reports also stated that Malaysian government officials and representatives from the government-linked conglomerate UEM World were negotiating with Oriental Land to build a theme park at UEM's 23,000-acre township, Bandar Nusajaya, in the southern part of Johor.

"We are exploring all our options, including this (Disneyland) because in the Southern Corridor Development, we want it to be a comprehensive and attractive region," he told reporters after officiating the launch of Economic Census 2006 here.

"This will include theme park and other attractions," he added.

Mohd Effendi said the government was already in talks with representatives of Japan Disneyland and US Disneyland.

"We are also discussing with several other parties to get the best option," he said.


Couch Weight
2,945 Posts
Johor has just to improve some infrastructure. Though it's totally okay, i feel that it has to be at par with the ones in Penang and KL. That's because many people compare Johor with Singapore, especially Johor Bahru.

One Malaysia
3,031 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Nusajaya map

From Nusajaya
Location Distance

govt had approved to build bullet train from KL - Johor Bharu

Johor Bahru City Centre 25 km 25 mins
Pasir Gudang Port 45 km 45 mins
Sultan Ismail Airport (Senai) 25 km 25 mins
Tanjung Pelepas Port 15 km 15 mins
Kuala Lumpur City Centre 320 km 3 hrs
KLIA International Airport 300 km 3 hrs
Malaysia - Singapore CIQ Complex 15 km 15 mins
Singapore City Centre 40 km 45 mins
Changi International Airport 50 km 55 mins
Keppel Port 45 km 50 mins
Jurong Port 20 km 20 mins

- Within the next decade, Johor's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to grow at an average annual rate of about 9% , surpassing the national level of 7.4%.

- With vast infrastructure projects coming on stream such as the Port of Tanjung Pelepas which will be Malaysia's largest seaport, the Pontian-Desaru Expressway, the Waterfront City and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Crossing Bridge, Johor is poised to play a vital role in fostering trade alliances and capitalising on the enormous business and financial opportunities in the region.

1,373 Posts
This time, it would be win -win situation between Malaysia n Singapore :)

Malaysia - Disneyland theme park n Genting Highland.
Singapore - Universal theme park n 2 IR.

SEA will be more attractive ;)
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