CNET : News : Story Sunday, February 13, 2000 

Malaysia's e-village project is still on, says MDC
By Julian Matthews
Thursday, February 10 2000

KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia's plan to build an Entertainment Village to support the film industry and the Multimedia Super Corridor project is still on.

Multimedia Development Corporation executive chairman Othman Yeop Abdullah confirmed this today saying a new company called Entertainment Village Sdn Bhd (EVSB) is likely to be appointed to head the US$60 million project.

"The September target still stands for the first phase of the project, which is the film studio, to be set up, while the other phases for a theme park and holiday resort will follow," he said.

The MDC revoked lead investor status from DKH Bina, a subsidiary of public-listed Datuk Keramat Holdings (DKH) in December, after the company ran into financial problems.

DKH had pitched for the project last July with associate company George Town Holdings which owns the Leavesden Studios in Britain.

It is known that the managements of DKH and George Town have since had a falling out. Meanwhile Leavesden, which was the location for Star Wars prequel Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, and the Bond film Goldeneye, has been quietly shut down.

DKH won the bid on the basis of backing it would receive from Leavesden staff's technical expertise and experience in the film-making industry.

Othman indicated that the MDC needed to take back the right to develop the project to avoid a legal wrangle. "We needed to create another business entity to drive this project forward," he said.

He said the Selangor government is also set to re-designate the status of the earmarked land for the project for commercial development soon.

"It's more of a legal problem rather than a business problem. It's not something so complex that it cannot be overcome," said Othman.

The E-Village was mooted as a Hollywood-styled regional hub for film, animation and post-production industries. It was expected to draw global film-makers following MDC's successful hosting of Fox Studios' Anna and The King and Entrapment, made on location here.

"It has great potential in developing the local film industry specifically in line with current technology and digital delivery of content over the Internet," said Kamil Othman, formerly of corporate communications, who has been reassigned to head MDC's Creative Multimedia Cluster unit, which will oversee the project.

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