Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysian theme park developer Sim Leisure Group (SLG) has announced Phil Whittaker as its new chief executive officer. As part of the announcement, Sim Choo Kheng has been also appointed as the new executive chairman.

Whittaker, who prior to this appointment served as strategic advisor and more recently as commercial director to the group, carries with him more than 25 years of knowledge and expertise in developing, launching, managing and restructuring sales, marketing, commercial and operations to deliver growth in several notable travel, leisure and entertainment-related organisations in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Speaking on his appointment, he said, “I am truly honoured to take on this appointment as CEO at Sim Leisure, as I am humbled to lead such a globally recognised and respected brand and build on the innovation and success that Sim has achieved as one of the industry’s leading leisure entrepreneurs and operators. I would like to thank Sim and the team for their faith and trust in me as I continue to leverage on my skills and experience to support and help to realise the ongoing expansion plans of the Sim Leisure Group.”

Meanwhile, Kheng will also oversee the Group’s strategic direction and the expansion of Sim Leisure’s brands, including the design and development of new projects locally and internationally, while liaising with key stakeholders.

Kheng said, “In many ways, these strategic appointments can be deemed a pivotal one in our mission to become the premier themed leisure company across the globe, as we train our targets and artillery on world domination! Those who know me can attest to the fact that I like to accomplish the impossible. So, we set out to make the impossible a reality, with our unique products where fun is measured in ‘smiles per hour’.”

In the near future, SLG is also planning to introduce greater industry representation on the board to lend their expertise and help champion SLG’s industry representation in several markets around the world.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Malaysian-based Sim Leisure Group, a developer and operator of theme parks, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with partners from Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia to make its theme park, ESCAPE, expand on a global scale. Through the MoU, these partners will source and secure funding for the ESCAPE brand of theme parks in their respective territories.

The MOU signing ceremony which was held at the Malaysian Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020 was witnessed by senior representatives from Sim Leisure’s partners, and several industry experts from the entrepreneurship development, tourism, and creative economy sectors.

Sim Choo Kheng, founder and CEO of Sim Leisure, commented on the global expansion of the company he founded, saying he believes this is truly a coming of age for ESCAPE as the company launches the brand internationally. Kheng said he is very excited at the prospects of what they can achieve together with their partners in Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

“We had plans to take the ESCAPE brand internationally earlier. However, we were delayed for the last two years due to the pandemic. But now, as travel restrictions are eased, it’s finally time to venture into international markets. These territories will add to the ESCAPE park that is already under construction in Sri Lanka and an ESCAPE park that has recently been approved to start development in China,” Kheng said.

The MOU signing was also held in conjunction with Penang Week which was witnessed by Penang Governor Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak.

Razak commended Kheng by saying, “Sim Leisure is a good example of how a Malaysian company can be successful on the world stage, establishing their Middle East HQ in Dubai some 20 years ago and having since delivered over 300 unique international theme park and attraction design and build projects around the world.”

The ESCAPE theme park is expected to attract more tourists as it will be one of the only Asian attraction brands to be exported internationally.