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PM Anwar Ibrahim says Malaysia doesn’t need new casino to boost economy

“There’s no necessity for Malaysia to venture into the casino business,” Anwar said. “We are focusing on digital transformation, energy transition, AI, and we believe that this is adequate to push the country forward.”

The report, which cited people familiar with the matter, said Anwar discussed the idea with Berjaya Corp. founder Vincent Tan and Genting Group’s Lim Kok Thay. Malaysia’s King Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar was also represented, the people told Bloomberg.

Anwar said afterward there were no plans to issue a casino licence in Forest City, and denounced the report as a “lie.” Tan and Lim denied taking part in such a meeting.

Anwar said on Tuesday that he responded strongly to the report because it was disrespectful to the king, but added that “nobody was arrested” and it’s time to “move on.”

Malaysian authorities have charged several people for making seditious remarks on social media and a private WhatsApp group in relation to the casino report.


Malaysia’s China-linked multibillion-dollar ghost town project stalled by Covid and capital curbs

Malaysia has granted only one casino licence, which was given to Genting in 1969. It contributed as much as 5 billion ringgit (US$1.1 billion) annually to the government’s revenue before the pandemic, according to a report by UOB-Kay Hian Holdings Ltd., a Singapore-based brokerage.

Casinos are controversial in Muslim-majority Malaysia. After Bloomberg’s report was published, Johor Chief Minister Onn Hafiz Ghazi said that no casinos will be opened or allowed to operate in the state.

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