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Malaysian Minister Upholds Sarawak Casino Proposal, Defending Its Viability



There is a possibility of a new casino resort being established in the scenic Borneo Highlands, according to the tourism minister of Sarawak. However, there has been criticism from some members of the Muslim community who are against the idea of a casino being built at Borneo Highlands Resort. The tourism minister has responded to these concerns.

The minister in charge of tourism, creative industry, and performing arts in Sarawak, Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, has come to the defense of plans for a casino at Borneo Highlands Resort, despite objections from some Muslim residents.

Speaking at his Hari Raya open house, Karim stated that there was nothing wrong with having a casino at the resort, as Sarawak is not exclusively for Muslims. Although he personally would not go to the casino as a Muslim, Karim emphasized that the integrated resort would also feature an amusement park and golf course.

Karim further questioned the objections of Sarawak PAS commissioner, Jofri Jaraiee, who had expressed concerns that a casino would lead to gambling addiction and societal collapse, citing that gambling is considered “haram” or forbidden in Islam. Karim pointed out that other forms of gaming, such as Magnum and Toto, were already operating in the state and should be opposed on the same grounds if that was the case.


The development of Borneo Highlands Resort is anticipated to be a significant boost to tourism in Sarawak, attracting both domestic and international visitors. While the state government has yet to make a decision on whether to approve the casino proposal, Karim’s comments suggest that they are open to the idea, despite objections. The final decision will be made by Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg.

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