LOCAL Malaysian officials agreed with their Philippine counterparts
to touch base with Ekran Berhad for the possible reopening of the
mothballed multi-billion-peso Samal Casino Resort.
South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance Fuentes, chair of the recently
concluded 2nd BIMP-Eaga Chief of Ministers, Governors and Heads of
Local Government Forum here, said Malaysian officials from Sarawak
will initiate talks for Ekran Berhad to resume its casino operations
in the Island Garden City of Samal.
Post comments here on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s grant of
pardon to former President Joseph Estrada.
Post your comments on the explosion at the Glorietta 2 mall in Makati
“There’s no time frame to reach the objective but we hope we can do
it as soon as possible,” she said.
The Malaysian delegation, headed by Minister of Industrial
Development Datuk Ewon Ebin, vowed to constantly keep in touch on the
development regarding efforts to urge Ekran Berhad to reopen its
Ebin vowed the “full assistance and cooperation” of Malaysia to
accelerate development initiatives in the sub-regional economic
Pushing for the continuation of the venture, Igacos Mayor Antonio
Antalan said the possible reopening of the casino resort would be a
welcome development as it would boost economic activities and
generate employment for the constituents.
With the closure of the Samal Casino Resort in 2000, the locality is
reportedly losing P12 million in real estate taxes annually.
The resort, developed at a cost of more than $250 million in the
early 1990s, is valued at P2 billion before it was shut down due to
continuing financial losses as a result of the Asian financial
In 2001, it was reported that Ekran Berhad was selling the facility
at half the price of its estimated value.
Long-term lease was another option offered by Ekran Berhad to
Samal Casino Resort is located in Samal’s Kaputian district where
Davao Gulf’s best beach resorts are located.
The resort’s total land area is 250 hectares but only 18 hectares
have been developed.
The original plan by Malaysian investors was to develop an economic
zone on the site, which used to be a coconut plantation.
The resort started operating as a hotel and casino in late 1997 with
300 rooms and a ballroom that could accommodate 3,000 people.
About 300 locals lost their jobs when the Malaysians pulled out of
The resort is about 30 minutes by boat from Sta. Ana wharf, Davao
City, Mindanao’s premier economic hub.
Ekran Berhad is a highly diversified Malaysian conglomerate listed on
the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.
The company’s biggest project was Bakun Dam in Sarawak which it
reportedly failed to complete, but was paid a hefty sum for its
expenses by the Malaysian government.
Samal Casino Resort was Ekran Berhad’s contribution to the East Asean
Growth Area concept promoted by private business chambers in the
region during the early ’90s.
The growth area straddles the countries of Brunei Darrussalam,
Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.