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Sim Leisure partners Hektar Muda to develop RM100m ESCAPE Cameron Highlands

PETALING JAYA (Aug 2): Singapore-listed theme park developer and operator Sim Leisure Group has partnered with Hektar Muda Sdn Bhd to develop a theme park development in Cameron Highlands, Pahang worth RM100 million.

The theme park development, named ESCAPE Cameron Highlands, is sited on a 60-acre plot with an elevation of 220m in Habu, Cameron Highlands. The construction of the first phase will commence in December this year. 

The two companies, represented by Sim Leisure Group founder and CEO Sim Choo Kheng and Hektar Muda director and shareholder Datuk Jimmy Doh, have inked the partnership agreement today virtually, witnessed by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

Hektar Muda is the landowner while Sim Leisure will design, build, operate, manage and maintain the theme park.  

The Singapore Exchange Catalist-listed company, which is known for the ESCAPE brand of theme parks and other projects around the world, acquired KidZania Kuala Lumpur in Nov 2020.

According to Sim, the initial development of the theme park is RM15 million. It will be developed over three to four phases and the first phase is expected to be completed and open for the public in the first half of 2023.

Notably, he also shared that the park will adopt a 100% renewable energy system including photovoltaic facilities, hydropower and wind turbine.

“We are going carbon neutral. All the energy that we will be using will account for renewable energy. We will still be connected to the grid, but the energy consumption will be offset by renewable energy mainly coming from photovoltaic facilities, wind turbines and hydropower. Therefore, we expect that the energy consumption used in phase one will be less than 100kw,” he added.

Sim said the theme park will be designed with a European-heritage concept, featuring traditional European games. The theme park will be divided into five different European villages with the Iberian at the lowest zone; British Isle, Balkan and Nordic in the mid-zone; and Alpine regions at the top.

The public can expect 20 various attractions with some of its signature attractions in ESCAPE Penang also featured here.

Notably, the park will also showcase the world’s first outdoor ski facility in equatorial setting complete with a 1.2km ski lift to transport visitors to the top of the park. 

“We wholeheartedly believe that ESCAPE Cameron Highlands is a key innovation in Malaysia’s leisure industry – a game changer that will set itself apart from other themed destinations in the country,” said Doh.

Meanwhile, the minister said the park will be a breath of fresh air for the Malaysian tourism industry, noting that the pandemic has changed the demand of visitors to focus more on reconnecting with nature.

“The future of global tourism will be about family fun in the form of wellness. I predict an exponential growth in demand for nature-based tourism worldwide. Malaysia will set itself apart from its regional neighbours by promoting clean, healthy, family-oriented tourism. We will capitalise on our abundant natural beauty in heading towards this new direction,” added Nancy. 

Commenting on the future outlook of ESCAPE, Sim said they are currently looking into opening another outlet in KL, but it is still in discussion. 

Additionally, there are plans to open six to seven outlets of the ESCAPE Challenge Park in the Klang Valley malls.

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