Khazanah to decide whether to reopen or close KidZania KL

KUALA LUMPUR: Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s leisure and tourism arm Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd is mulling whether to reopen KidZania Kuala Lumpur post-Covid-19 or close it for good, sources said.

They said KidZania KL was not profitable and that its cumulative losses had been increasing since the movement control order was in place on March 18.

Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s leisure and tourism arm Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd is mulling whether to reopen KidZania Kuala Lumpur post-Covid-19 or close it for good, sources said.

“The management is looking for an immediate solution,” one of the sources said. 

When contacted, a spokesperson from the company told the New Straits Times that at this moment, KidZania KL was not yet allowed to reopen as it is a family entertainment centre. The spokesperson declined to comment further. 

KidZania KL opened nine years ago in Curve NX in the Mutiara Damansara township here. 

The total cost of investment for the theme park is around RM80 million, but it has increased over the years due to upgrading works. 

The project marked Khazanah’s second investment in theme parks after its earlier investment of RM750 million for the development of Legoland in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor. 

Themed Attraction also operates Kidzania Singapore but the educational and entertainment theme park in Sentosa is being closed down permanently after four years.

In a statement, Kidzania Singapore said business-wise, it had been a challenge for the theme park to achieve the returns needed over the years, and this had been exacerbated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its consequential economic fallout. 

Aside from zero ticket revenue due to the temporary closure since early April, its revenue has also been impacted as commercial partners reduced their participation due to financial constraints and cost control efforts.

The decision to not reopen KidZania Singapore would affect about 103 employees, and they would receive appropriate severance packages with salaries, medical and other benefits paid up till their last day of service, it said. 

The KidZania brand is an international franchise with 29 facilities in 22 countries worldwide. 

Kids choose from over 100 different role-playing activities to earn money to spend or save as KidZania educates through experience, fostering the development of life skills without sacrificing fun. 

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, all its facilities, except for those in South Korea and Japan, are currently closed to the public. 

In Malaysia, the brand has been franchised to a joint venture between Khazanah and Boustead Holdings Bhd through Rakan Riang Sdn Bhd, in which the former holds an 80 per cent stake and the latter holds 20 per cent.

By Sharen Kaur – NEW STRAITS TIMES

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