The local government in Melaka, Malaysia, has issued an apology after reports about a brand-new Disney theme park in the city were retracted.
The government of Melaka, Malaysia, says there were never any agreements or memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the state and The Walt Disney Company. State Tourism, Heritage, and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Muhammad Jailani Khamis said that construction of a theme park had only ever been in the planning stages.
Last week, it was reported by the New Straits Times and other media outlets that Disney was building a brand-new theme park in Melaka, Malaysia. It would have been the fourth Disney theme park in Asia–and the largest one to date. But within 24 hours, retractions had gone as viral as the original reports after the news was determined to be ungrounded and fake.
In fact, the only formal MoU signed was the one between Metrolink Sdn Bhd and Menara Taming Sari Berhad, which was for the Maglev Transportation System, which will reportedly connect tourist spots across the state. There was never one signed, however, to begin the construction of a fourth Asian Disney Park.
“But Metrolink has stated its future plans, as I spoke about earlier, of having a Disney City in Jasin,” Khamis said. “So it is a plan. We did not say anything about having an agreement or MoU with Disneyland in place. I can plan to build Burj Khalifa in Melaka tomorrow, but it does not mean that its owners and management will agree to such an idea.”
Khamis further explained that nothing was published about Disneyland specifically, although a video about the Maglev Transportation System was made available during a press conference earlier in the week.
“We did showcase a video on the Maglev system, which is a train network system with no friction, no reliance on oil or lubricants, no noise, and is in line with the green city concept mooted by the state government,” Khamis said. “So once again, I apologize for the confusion over Disney City or Disneyland. That is part of the company’s plans in developing the Maglev system and if there is an opportunity, a chance for Disney to come in and open up a branch here, a mini-Disneyland.”
Khamis also said that the misunderstanding wasn’t due to something he and his team had announced, but rather that it was due to assumptions made by others.
“I apologize because many people got the wrong impression, but I am not sure that I made a mistake,” he said. “The company informed us of its intentions and plans to bring Disney here to Melaka. The speculation made was as though there was already an agreement in place. Is it wrong for me to plan ahead?”
The tourism chairman further said that the State of Melaka never intended to drum up fake news.
“The state government has no intention of making up false news. We were just informed of the plan. I did not say we have already committed to it.”