by Shahrum Sayuthi and Siti Norabsah Juswar
JOHOR BARU, MALAYSIA - The Legoland Malaysia theme park project came closer to realisation with the selection yesterday of the first batch of model builders.
Upon the completion of their 10-week training in California, the United States, next month, the pioneer group of six apprentices will design models at the theme park's model shop which will be ready in November.
The second round of model builders recruitment will be in November.
IDR Resorts Sdn Bhd director Zainal Ashikin Muhammad Rejab said the selection of the model builders was another step towards realising the project, which is scheduled to be completed in early 2012.
"We are optimistic about meeting the deadline. The project's master plan has been completed and the groundwork for the theme park will start in November," said Zainal at the Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB) headquarters here.
"As for the model builders, this is an exciting opportunity to experience the magic of Legoland California and pass on the enthusiasm and knowledge to their teammates."
IDR Resorts is the project's development vehicle. It was set up by IIB and US-based Merlin Entertainments, which is the owner of the Legoland theme park brand.
The 26ha Legoland Malaysia, to be located at the Nusa Cemerlang Industrial Park near here, will be the fifth of its kind in the world and the first in Asia.
It is an interactive theme park for families with children aged between 2 and 12, and will be one of three major theme parks to be built in Iskandar Malaysia.
IIB managing director Arlida Ariff expected the theme park to be a hit among local visitors and foreign tourists with its unique attractions.
"Most other theme parks, such as those in Singapore, cater to young adults. Legoland Malaysia targets young families and, therefore, has its own niche market."