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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Karambunai denies plan to build resort casino

PETALING JAYA: The surge of Karambunai Corp Bhd (KCB) shares since speculation arose it might get a casino license as part of a proposed integrated resort (IR) at its existing resort in Sabah has created excitement in the market but the company yesterday poured cold water on any such move.

“KCB has not up to date submitted any official proposal to the Malaysian government, nor has it penned any written documents with any other third parties in respect of any plan to build a casino in Karambunai,’’ the company told Bursa Malaysia in a statement.

KCB said since it was a key player of tourism in Sabah, its general manger of the Nexus Karambunai Hotel was invited to be a member of Pemandu’s NKEA tourism lab.

“During the lab sessions, KCB’s representative has been discussing and disclosing drawings in Karambunai with members of the private and public sectors as to the manner in which Karambunai as a member of the private sector may assist in this direction,” it explained.

“Pemandu is free to use any drawings conducted in the lab sessions, but chooses drawings from Karambunai which has copyrights source & status. To KCB, these chosen drawings are merely meant as a plan. The recent public information simply mentions the existence of a IR in Kota Kinabalu Sabah and has not disclosed and named specifically KCB as a party.”

The market has been amazed by the 227% rise in the value of the loss-making company’s share price from 5.5 sen on Tuesday to its close at 18 sen yesterday given the probability of a fresh casino licence being issued in Malaysia.

According to a research house head, the idea of having a second casino in Malaysia would face a lot of opposition as it is politically unacceptable.

Analysts point to the fierce opposition to the proposal of sports betting in the country and the repeated political comments that Genting Malaysia Bhd would remain the sole recipient of a casino licence in Malaysia.

The casino idea was first raised when an online news portal reported that the panel discussing on the entry point presentation (EPP) made reference to successful casino-anchored IRs namely Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands and Resort World in Manila without mentioning the need for another casino here.

In the public EPP presentation, the proposed development of Karambunai’s resort in Sabah would feature a water theme park, a mangrove centre, iconic architecture and waterfront living.

KCB posted a net loss RM14.4mil in its first quarter ended June 30 compared with a net loss of RM14.6mil a year ago. Revenue for the period under review increased slightly to RM24mil from RM22.3mil in corresponding period last year.

By The Star

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