DOHA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has firmly said “no” to the idea of a possible second casino in the country.

Speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum (QEF) 2024 here today, the prime minister said Malaysia is currently focusing on digital transformation, energy transition as well as artificial intelligence (AI) sectors.

Anwar, who is also the Finance Minister, said these are the sectors, among others, that are adequate to push future growth.

Therefore, under his administration, Anwar said there is “no need for a second casino (licence) in the country”.

“Affirmative no! Malaysia does not have to venture into the (second) casino business. We are focusing on digital transformation, energy transition (and) AI, and we believe these are (among the industries that) adequate to push the country forward,” he told moderator Haslinda Amin in a plenary session here.

Anwar was asked whether Malaysia is considering allowing a second casino (licence) under the MADANI government.

Previously, the Prime Minister had repeatedly denied a foreign news report about the possibility of issuing a second casino licence in Forest City, Iskandar Puteri, Johor.

Malaysia has granted only one casino licence, which was issued to Genting in 1969. The group also has casino operations in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Singapore.

Meanwhile, Anwar said despite Malaysia’s firm position on the Palestine-Israel issue, it has not impacted businesses and the country continues to attract new investments.

“I think (our position) is very clear. (For example) We are very strong in our relations with China. I do not subscribe to this xenophobia. We have been traditional allies. And most of our investments, in different states, still come in.

“I mean, Germany, of course, the Middle East, even from the United States, by Microsoft, Google, they are all there (in Malaysia) and they are coming aggressively in Malaysia and we welcome them,” he said when asked whether Malaysia’s strong stance on Palestine had affected its relationship with trade partners or investments.

The Prime Minister also highlighted that Malaysia is well-known for semiconductors in the region.

“Part of the reason for Malaysia’s success in the semiconductor industry is the support it receives from the United States.

“We do defer to some of their policies (because) the contradictions are hypocrisy, but overall, they (the United States) are still friends,” said Anwar.

Anwar’s participation at the fourth edition of the QEF is part of his three-day official visit to Qatar, which ends today.


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