The idea of creating a hill resort located in proximity to Kuala Lumpur came up in the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong's mind during a business trip to the Cameron Highlands in 1964. He mooted this idea while enjoying the fresh and crisp air from the balcony at his hotel room.
Subsequently, a study of the maps and Kuala Lumpur’s vicinity located the ideal site - the 1,800-metre Gunung Ulu Kali, just 55 km from Kuala Lumpur. Tan Sri Lim then set to transform a remote mountain area amidst the dense virgin tropical jungle and rugged terrain into a holiday destination.
A private company called Genting Highlands Berhad was set up on 27 April 1965, with the late Tan Sri Haji Mohammed Noah bin Omar, Tan Sri Lim successfully obtained approval for the alienation of 12,000 acres (49 km) and 2,800 acres (11 km) of land from the Pahang and Selangor State Government respectively between the years 1965 and 1970. An anomaly happened during the obtaining of the land approvals. While the Pahang state government swiftly approved a freehold lease, the Selangor state reluctantly approved a 99-year lease. As a result, Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong met the then Mentri Besar of Selangor, Dato Harun Idris and telling him that a freehold lease will be more feasible than a 99-year lease. Finally, the Selangor state government agreed to grant a freehold lease.
On 18 August 1965, a technical and construction team began the herculean task that would take four years to complete the access road from Genting Sempah to the peak of Gunung Ulu Kali.
On 31 March 1969, the late YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for the company’s pioneer hotel, the then Highlands Hotel, marking the completion of the access road to Genting Highlands Resort. The Prime Minister was impressed that the private sector, without the assistance of the Government, could develop a mountain resort for the enjoyment of all Malaysians; subsequently a gaming licence