“They should make (Dato’ Seri) Ali Rustam Chairman and Chief Executive of LADA (Langkawi Development Authority). With his track record developing of Melaka, especially in the tourism sector, Ali would be very good for Langkawi”.
That was what Cikgu Man Pendek uttered they moment all the normal greetings and pleasantries are done.
It makes perfect sense for a veteran UMNO politician like former ADUN for Langkawi Ismail Yaacob, commonly known as Cikgu Man Pendek to the locals and many UMNO activists to float the idea. Ali in his capacity and might as the Chief Minister of Melaka between 2004-13, did transform Melaka immensely.
“Look at his track record. Melaka is so different now. He literally cleaned up Melaka. Now, the whole heritage city is a tourist attraction on its own. The state of Melaka is a major ‘must go’ tourism destination when any foreigners step into Malaysia”.
LADA is a Federal Government agency formed for the purpose to co-ordinate and be a catalyst, in expediting the development of Langkawi. Civil servants have been appointed as the General Manager/Chief Executive post since inception. The current LADA CEO is a retired civil servant Tan Sri Khalid Ramli, who was immediate past MCMC Chairman and previously DG of ICU in Prime Minister’s Department
It is time that an experienced and proven politician to be given the challenge to develop Langkawi into greater heights. Former Chief Minister Ali could also be appointed to the post with a Ministerial status and part of his role is to co-ordinate programs under the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand-Growth-Triangle (IMT-GT) programs.
“Tourism is an industry that is common between the three neighbours. We need to have someone with a Minister status for that job. If they could appoint Samy Vellu as ‘represntative with Ministerial status to India’, why not Ali here in LADA?”.
After all, Ali did transform Melaka and made the state the first to be a ‘developed status’. Although he carried on with what initially started by Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Chik, he made it better. Melaka is a state without natural resourcres and much land. Thus, the state income from quit rent and land related taxes and revenues are limited.
However, Ali transformed Melaka by getting all the assistance he could get and channeled it strategically on projects that would give the maximum impact and returns. New feeder highways were built. hence improved traffic immensely. The Melaka river and the banks along the river was cleaned up that it became a major tourist attraction. The entire Melaka Bandaraya Bersejarah was transformed into a spotless clean tourism city.
He created a maritime museum, reflective of Melaka’s 600 years history as the strategic power in the region water ways. When the RMN submarine project was completed and both Perdana Class Scorpene submarines were delivered, Ali grabbed the opportunity to take ownership of the Ag0sta 70B training submarine Ouessant to be brought back to Melaka.
She became an instant hit and an added attraction to the city.
In short, Cikgu Man’s arguments have merits. Ali is the man who could assist in newly appointed MB Kedah Dato’ Paduka Mukhriz Mahathir to bring three million tourist to the state. It is a commercially as well as a diplomatically sound idea.