Should MAPS be Closed?

In a media statement on Saturday, May 26, Perak DAP Chairman, Nga Kor Ming urged board members of Perak Corporation Bhd (PCB) to resign and take full responsibility for an RM340.6 million loss.

It pertains to costs incurred in the running of the Movie Animation Park Studio (MAPS) in Meru, Ipoh. Financial losses in fiscal year 2017 alone was a staggering RM280 million. Imagine what this amount of money could do for the state?

Nga hoped newly-minted Menteri Besar, Ahmad Faizal Azumu, would hold a meeting soon to discuss the future of MAPS.

“Maintaining and managing the theme park, shouldn’t be the state’s responsibility,” Nga reasoned. “The previous state government had blatantly ignored this and Perakeans now have to bear the consequences,” he said.

The statement generated a flurry of comments from the public on Ipoh Echo’s Facebook page.

“Thanks to my annual pass I could visit the park a few times. But it’s a huge disappointment, as many of the billed attractions and facilities are non-existent,” said Noor Ain Mokhtar, a frequent visitor.

Executive Councillor for Infrastructure and Corridor Development, Dato’ Seri Ir Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin feels that a forensic audit should be conducted to determine the park’s faults and flaws.

“The facility is in bad shape. In its current form it’ll deter visitors from coming. After a soft launch in June 2017, it has yet to be fully operational due to ongoing renovations and construction works,” said Nizar.

The Adun for Sungai Rapat and former Menteri Besar, Nizar felt that MAPS could be revitalised but it would cost the state government a fortune. If revitalising the “stalled” park is considered uneconomical and a sheer waste of funds, then closing it seems the only option left.

PCB, a subsidiary of the Perak State Economic Development Corporation, a state-linked company, owns 51 percent of MAPS’s shares; 34 percent belong to developer RSG MAPS Sdn Bhd while the remainder 15 percent is held by an unspecified individual.

According to an inside source the theme park makes barely RM1 million in ticket sales a month. With such a paltry collection can it service its loans?

Should the park remain open despite the losses? Or should it be closed?

Here are some more comments received from concerned Ipohites:

Nooris Ismail wondered whether a feasibility study was done before the theme park was built. A study, he said should now be done to determine the flaws and rectifications be made. Closing the facility should be the last option, as there are parties keen to manage or buy it.

John Nadason feels that the entrance fee was a wee bit too pricey. Moreover, there is nothing much to see. A good marketing strategy may help.

Sarjit Singh was more livid. He bought a one-year pass. On the opening day it was exciting but as the days passed by the excitement soon vanished. Many attractions are still incomplete, although they are being billed. He had to wait two hours to get in and 15 minutes to get out. He insisted that the park be closed so it won’t incur further losses.

We received some 140 comments and the piece was shared 200 times. The majority of readers felt that MAPS should be closed for good.

Ili Aqilah

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