Saturday, April 27, 2024

Bloomberg Casino article exposes the intricacies of how business is done by the elite

Murray Hunter

Bloomberg Casino article exposes the intricacies of how business is done by the elite

Bloomberg leak was a test of public opinion

APR 26, 2024

The recent Bloomberg article exposing that informal talks had taken place about granting a casino license at Forest City was very quickly denied by prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

The Bloomberg article was most probably an intended leak to gauge public opinion. Prime minister Anwar is in a bind where he must assist the development of Forest City and at the same time maintain his “Islamic credentials” with voters in the Malay heartlands. This is the biggest dilemma in the way of granting such a license.

No to the casino by Anwar Ibrahim

But you cant guess which way this will go

This leak tells us something very important about the Madani government. The Madani government is one of pragmatism, not ideology. This is the biggest take-away from the Bloomberg article. There is some recognition that a casino in Forest City could be a game changer for the southern Johor development.

The second take-away from the Bloomberg article is that it gives a clear to read rare glimpse about how business is really undertaken in Malaysia. Parties or stakeholders mentioned in the article consists of a nexus of government, which has the power to grant a casino license, major corporations, which want to build and operate the casino, and royalty, that already has a major stake in Forest City.

The Bloomberg article is a classic case study of how new projects are created in Malaysia. If one wants to undertake a major project in Malaysia, just follow the model.

The full article is reproduced below:

Malaysia Is Said to Weigh Casino License to Revive Forest City


• Prime Minister Anwar holds talks with tycoons Tan, Lim

• Discussions at early stage, people familiar with matter say

(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia is in early discussions with tycoons on opening a casino in Forest City, people familiar with the matter said, in a bid to revive the beleaguered $100 billion property project that counts the country’s monarch as one of its shareholders.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim met Berjaya Corp. founder Vincent Tan and Genting Group’s Lim Kok Thay last week at the development on the southern coast of Malaysia near Singapore, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. King Ibrahim Iskandar was also represented, the people said.

The talks are preliminary and it’s unclear how seriously Anwar is taking the idea, which could cause a backlash in the Muslim-majority nation where gambling is frowned upon.

A casino would be a boost for Forest City, the sprawl of high-rise condominiums built on reclaimed land by the Chinese developer Country Garden Holdings Co. It has struggled to attract residents from China and elsewhere, thwarted by a litany of hurdles including political resistance in Malaysia, a Chinese government crackdown on citizens buying real estate overseas and the Covid-19 pandemic.

It would also be a boon for King Ibrahim, a billionaire businessman himself who controls more than 20% of the joint venture with Country Garden that’s the master developer of Forest City, according to company filings. Members of the royal family or proxies of the king may also be invited to take a stake in any casino, one of the people said.

Anwar, senior government officials and the businessmen had lunch and meetings on the possibility of granting what would only be Malaysia’s second-ever casino license.

Country Garden is keen to have a casino at the development, a person with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

A spokesperson for Berjaya said the company isn’t aware of any conversation between Prime Minister Anwar and Tan on the potential development of any casino in Forest City. The prime minister’s office, the National Palace, Country Garden and Genting didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The two tycoons are among the most prominent businesspeople in Malaysia. Lim is chairman of Genting Bhd. His father, Lim Goh Tong, won approval in 1969 to open Malaysia’s first casino in a hill resort in a central part of the country. Genting also operates casinos in countries including Singapore, the US and the UK.

Tan is involved in businesses ranging from real estate development to operating brands such as 7-Eleven and Starbucks in Malaysia. He has long harbored ambitions of winning a casino license in Malaysia, but has been rejected at least twice, according to local media reports. King Ibrahim directly holds a stake in Berjaya Assets Bhd., while his daughter is the chair of Berjaya Corp. and the rail unit of Berjaya Land Bhd.

King Ibrahim, the sultan of the southernmost state of Johor where Forest City is located, ascended to Malaysia’s throne in January. Malaysia has a unique constitutional monarchy where nine hereditary Malay rulers take turns to serve five-year terms.

Any move to develop another casino in Malaysia could become a challenge for Anwar, who heads a coalition government made up of almost 20 parties. Gambling is prohibited under Islam and Muslims are barred from even entering Malaysia’s casino.

Gaming is one of the most regulated sectors in Malaysia. A casino license has to be renewed every three months at the discretion of the finance minister. Anwar also holds the finance minister post.

But a new gambling hub would bring in revenue for the government. The existing casino contributed as much as 5 billion ringgit ($1 billion) annually before the pandemic, according to a report by UOB Kay Hian, a Singapore-based brokerage.


  1. Malaysia is in enough deep shit arising from Racial divisions and Religious divisions , it is very dangerous and destabilising to promote another element of Class Warfare into the picture.

    Fortunately, Malaysia has no real history of Class envy. Material success is still much admired and celebrated.

    The Kampung Boy Made Good,
    the Jelutong backlane Kia who made a success without becoming a gangster (something Penangites will understand) is something celebrated, not envied or demand to redistribute their wealth.

    What is important is to have a system of equal Opportunity, NOT equal olOutcomes.

    1. Monster, on this I agree with you wakakaka but I am of the personal opinion that the 'no-class' envy & even sincere admiration is more of a Penang-knia unique Chinese characteristic, though I admit I am clueless about the Malays, mind you some of whom (my colleague mateys) had many times revealed to me the malicious scratches ion their cars when they balik kampongs a la crabs-in-a-basket mentality