GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has ruled out having casinos in the state.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government would not approve casinos which he described as objects of danger.
“Even though the economic benefits from casinos are manifold, the social and spiritual cost is too heavy and high for our multi-cultural and diverse society to bear,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Lim said the state would rather boost tourism growth and revenue with economic catalysts like IKEA, a furniture retailer.
The state government, he said, was pleased that IKEA had decided to site their first store outside Kuala Lumpur in Batu Kawan, Penang.
“This decision is a strong boost of confidence for Penang’s aspirations towards becoming an international and intelligent city,” said Lim, who met IKEA’s technical and design team, comprising its project investment manager Mikael Winqvist, regional design manager Tim Denoon and assistant expansion manager Edward Ng, yesterday.
He said a one-stop centre for advanced manufacturing, services and logistics hub, an education centre of excellence, a premier residential location and a commercial and retail centre would be built under a joint-venture between IKEA’s parent company, Ikano, and a local company on a 99.15ha plot in Batu Kawan which was sold by the Penang Development Corporation for RM484mil.
Lim said the land use comprises 12.14ha for the development of the IKEA Store and Phase 1 of a shopping mall, 18.21ha for the mall’s Phase 2 and 68.8ha for mixed development purposes. The mall would, hopefully, be completed in five years, he added.