Fans say goodbye to Hello Kitty as Johor theme park calls it a day

A teacup ride at Sanrio Hello Kitty Town in Iskandar Puteri, Johor Baru. The theme park, which opened in 2012, closes down from today.
A teacup ride at Sanrio Hello Kitty Town in Iskandar Puteri, Johor Baru. The theme park, which opened in 2012, closes down from today.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

ISKANDAR PUTERI (Johor) • It was an emotional farewell for Ms Iman Najwa Hazimi during her recent visit to Sanrio Hello Kitty Town, which is closing for good today.

Ms Iman, 26, was among the first employees of the indoor park in Johor when it opened in 2012.

"It was my first job and I was about 19 years old when I packed my bags and left my hometown in Klang (Selangor) for the job opportunity at the theme park," she said when she visited on Monday.

"I worked here for about two years and made a lot of lifelong friends on the job."

Ms Iman was visiting the Hello Kitty Town for the last time with friends, who were also former staff members of the theme park.

Sanrio Hello Kitty Town is located in the Puteri Harbour theme park in Iskandar Puteri, formerly known as Nusajaya, close to the Tuas Second Link. The theme park also houses other attractions, including a Thomas Town indoor park that closes from today as well.

The RM110 million (S$36.6 million) Puteri Harbour theme park opened its doors in 2012, but struggled to attract visitors.

Accountant Nur Wahida Hashim, 27, who is also a fan of Hello Kitty, lamented the closing of the park.

"Many visitors, especially die-hard Hello Kitty fans, used to travel long distances to experience the theme park," she said.

 
 
 

"It is sad that we have to see it close down so soon, especially as Visit Johor and Visit Malaysia Year 2020 are just about to begin."

Ms Wahida, who visited the place with her colleagues during its last few days of operation, said the experience had brought back nostalgic childhood memories.

Johor is home to at least 10 theme parks, earning it the accolade of the Malaysian state with the most such parks. Besides Hello Kitty Town and Thomas Town, it also has Legoland Malaysia and Angry Birds Activity Park, among others.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2020, with the headline 'Fans say goodbye to Hello Kitty as Johor theme park calls it a day'. Print Edition | Subscribe