It is impossible to stop Malaysians from visiting and gambling at Singapore’s two casinos, the first opened a year ago followed by the second two months later.
Johor Tourism Malaysia director Mohammad Isa Abdul Halim said although their action resulted in Malaysian currency outflow into another country, it was difficult to be prevented.
“What we can do is to advise our people that visiting and gambling at the casinos there would have an impact on the country’s economy due to the money outflow,” he told reporters at a Tourism Ministry luncheon with the media, here, today.
Mohammad Isa was responding to questions on calls by several non-governmental organisations and local politicians for the government to stop Malaysians from patronising Singapore’s casinos.
Barisan Nasional assemblyman for Pekan Nenas Tang Nai Soon was recently reported to have said that Malaysians gambling at the casinos, located at Marina Bay and Sentosa Island, could also destroy the family institution.
Mohamad Isa, however, is confident that when the Legoland theme park in Johor is ready next year, it will be a new attraction which could draw more tourists from Singapore to the state.
“It’s a normal phenomenon in the tourism industry. Now the hot attraction is Singapore (with its Integrated Resorts scheme at Marina Bay and Sentosa Island). After this it will be Johor with its Legoland,” he said.
“What is more important is a continuous promotion drive for the tourism products in Johor to maintain the tourist arrival momentum.”
He cited how the ancient pyramids in Egypt could continue to draw tourists in droves each year through creative and continuous promotional efforts.
He also said that Desaru which was once renowned as Johor’s main tourism attraction would be given a facelift through a project headed by Khazanah Nasional.