Penang receives RM3b MICE proposals

Penang’s long wait for a convention centre for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) may end soon as it has received three proposals, each worth more than RM1 billion to undertake such a project.

State tourism committee chairman Law Heng Kiang said the three proposals were for a MICE centre along the coastal road near the Penang Bridge, another in George Town and one more for Bayan Mutiara.

While the first two proposals are from local companies, the Bayan Mutiara project is to be a joint venture between a local company and a Middle East party. Law said all the proposals were for a convention facility to accommodate between 5,000 and 8,000 people.

“The state government is studying the proposals and we hope to make a decision within three months,” Law told a luncheon gathering of members of the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) Penang branch.

Newly apppointed Penang Tourism Action Council (PTAC) CEO Datuk Kee Phaik Cheen and MICCI Penang chairman Datuk Nazir Ariff attended the event, which included a dialogue session on the tourism industry in Penang.

MICCI members, who include hoteliers, industrialists and travel trade representatives, raised issues ranging from MICE facilities to new tourism products for Penang, which many lamented was lagging far behind.

Concerns were also raised about Penang’s fortunes with Singapore opening casinos and developing Sentosa Island.

Law said the state government had also received two proposals for international theme parks in Balik Pulau. One of the proposals involves a 200-acre (80.94ha) site by a Middle Eastern investor and a local partner, while another involves a 40-acre site for an oriental theme park by a party from China.

“We have also received a proposal for a marine park which will boast the biggest aquarium in Asia from a company which has expertise in this field, having such an outfit in Langkawi,” he added.

Law said the state government had also received queries from two investors for the Penang Hill cable car project, which had long ago been planned and gazetted but yet to take off.

The proposed route from Teluk Bahang to Penang Hill is expected to cost RM50 million while the route from the Youth Park to Penang Hill is estimated to cost at RM60 million.

“We welcome anyone who is interested to propose these projects and we assure you that it will be carried out on are open tender basis, with the best option being given due consideration,” he said. - By Regina William (The Edge Daily)

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