Genting Malaysia faces economic and political conundrum amid pandemic

By Bernie Yeo

 

GENTING Malaysia Bhd’s Resort World Genting (RWG) has invested more than RM3.23 bil (US$800 mil) in its 26-acre outdoor Genting Skyworlds theme park. Targeted for opening in the second quarter of 2021, the long-awaited theme park is now in the final stages of completion.

But amid this interesting bit of news, a more pressing question emerges: will the revenue brought in by the theme park when it opens its doors to the public be sufficient enough to make up for the loss of profit from Genting’s casino as well as cruise businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

To recap, RWG closed its doors for the first time in its 55-year-old history, back in March 2020, during the country’s movement control order (MCO). Having been dealt a poor hand following the pandemic, Genting Malaysia made a loss of RM1 bil for the full year ended Dec 31. Its revenue, meanwhile, was halved to RM11.56 bil compared with RM21.6 bil a year ago.

From a political standpoint, here’s another dilemma: with PAS being a member of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) Government, how will its stance against gambling affect Genting’s casino business? After all, the Islamist political party has iterated time and again its desire to eradicate all gambling activities in Malaysia by 2025.

More importantly, if PN manages to remain in power by the next general elections, is the gambling industry going to be on the receiving end of any PN policies that will restrict gambling in the country? How will this, then, affect Genting’s businesses?

For years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Genting Malaysia has brought in its fair share of foreign exchange by virtue of foreign visitors. While RWG has recently reopened with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place, it is still too soon to be expecting an influx of foreign visitors due to international travel restrictions.

Until that happens, where do Genting Malaysia and its soon-to-be-opened Genting Skyworlds theme park stand? – Feb 27, 2021

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