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Bali dreams for Desaru


Bali dreams for Desaru

DESARU: The Government’s investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, plans to transform Desaru, on the eastern coast of Johor, into one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region, which resembles Nusa Dua, an enclave of large international resorts in southeastern Bali.

Recently, Khazanah acquired Desaru Development Corp Sdn Bhd, including the company’s over 1,618 hectares of land, with plans to build two international class hotels, a world-class golf course, a theme park and a convention centre.

“Khazanah’s objective is to turn Desaru, a popular holiday spot for locals and Singaporeans in the early 1970s and mid-1980s, into what Nusa Dua in Bali is now”, Southeast Johor Development Authority (Kejora) general manager Azizan Md Rais stated.

“Khazanah will develop Desaru as what it is doing now in Iskandar Malaysia’s Nusajaya via its controlled entity UEM Land,’’ he told StarBiz at the launch of Taman Desaru Utama’s sales office here.

The project is a joint-venture property development between Mahabuilders Sdn Bhd’s subsidiary TNC Consolidated Sdn Bhd and Koperasi Pelaburan Pekerja-Pekerja Kejora Sdn Bhd.

Azizan also indicated that Khazanah already has the tourism development project for Desaru outlined, which includes building two international class hotels and a world class golf course.

He also added that the construction of the two hotels and the golf course would probably start in the last quarter of 2010 with completion expected by the end of 2012.

Azizan said apart from the two hotels and the golf course, Khazanah will also build a theme park and a convention centre to cater to the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) segment.

He added that the theme park would incorporate tropical, eco-adventure and water features. However, he also remarked that Khazanah will not be competing with Singapore’s Universal Studios theme park in Sentosa.

“Khazanah’s role is to attract local and foreign investors to Desaru and investors can either undertake the projects privately or on a joint-venture basis with Khazanah,’’ Azizan said.

With Khazanah serious about developing Desaru, Kejora is confident in attracting both local and foreign investors, according to Azizan.

He revealed that two listed companies on Bursa Malaysia will also develop multi-million ringgit holiday resorts in Desaru this year but declined to divulge more details. Azizan reckoned that accessibility is the main reason why Desaru has lost its charms along the way but noted that the partial opening of the Senai-Pasir Gudang-Desaru Expressway last year resulted in an increase in holiday makers in Desaru.

“The upcoming oil and gas hub in Teluk Ramunia and Pengerang in Southeast Johor by 2013 will also bring economic spillovers to Desaru,’’ Azizan mentioned.