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Monday, January 10 10:21 AM SGT Malaysia's Hollywood-styled e-village near MSC stalls

Malaysia's Hollywood-styled e-village near MSC stalls

KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia's plan to build a US$60 million Hollywood-styled film complex cum theme park next to the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) has hit a snag.

Public-listed Datuk Keramat Holdings (DKH) told the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange Wednesday that its subsidiary, DKH Bina, the company engaged to undertake the ambitious project, had lost its anchor status.

In a letter dated December 24, MSC developer Multimedia Development Corp (MDC) informed DKH it was withdrawing DKH Bina's appointment as lead investor for the Entertainment Village or E-Village.

Last July, MDC had commissioned DKH Bina to build the E-Village, which was aimed at making Malaysia a regional hub for film, animation and post-production industries and expected to draw global film-makers, investors, and tourists.

No reason was given for the sudden axing and both MDC and DKH representatives could not be reached for comment due to the Muslim festive holidays.

However, this is by no means a step backward for the MSC, says one investor.

"The move should not be seen as a setback for the MSC," said Steve Bristow, managing director of Fat Lizard, an MSC-approved company which specializes in 3-D animation and visual effects.

"There is still vast potential for the film and animation industry to flourish in Malaysia. We're still in the early stages and can expect some hiccups," he said.

Bristow said he was hopeful that the E-Village would emerge in a different form in future.

"We've come this far and created a cluster of multimedia-related companies in the MSC. There's a whole new spirit here, and many opportunities still to explore," said Bristow, who also heads Persistence Of Vision, an animation studio based within the 750 sq km MSC.

The E-Village was to be sited on a 200-hectare area near Cyberjaya, the MSC's host city. Its first phase comprised a TV and film studio complex, followed by a Disneyland-styled theme park, a holiday resort, and a township for businesses and residents (see related news).

DKH got the go-ahead for the job because its associate company George Town Holdings owned the Leavesden Studios in Britain, the location of Star Wars' prequel "The Phantom Menace".

The fate of the project is now uncertain.


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