A Melaka travel update, business news and tourism blog updating all latest news of Melaka business, scenes & life for the record and information of all those who are members of the association and tourists, too!
The Honky Tonk Haven Cafe boasts of superior old malacca ambiance with privileged boardwalk cafe seats to enjoy your evening companionship and drink in comfort; relaxations & fun amongst the tranquility of the reborn magical malacca river setting !
Catering for dinner parties of min. 10 pax. (RM 35 / pax for meal package, Honky Tonk special drink, mineral water).
Sing-along sessions (on request). Dennis (in-house pianist) specializes in sing-along songs of the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s and some new songs !! (RM 50 / hour ; min. 1 1/2 hours.). Also does Latin and old time Malay (eg. P. Ramlee, Jimmy Boyle) and Indonesian songs. (Please book minimum 5 days in advance.)
Jamming sessions (FOC - just come with your instrument and pick up). Note that we only have one microphone, and capacity to plug in only one lead into speaker system. Please give advance notice if you require Dennis to sit in.
Melaka will today be declared a Developed City by our Chief Minister Ali Rustam at 20.10 hours. The passion of this one man has transformed our fair town into the beautiful city state we see today. For hundreds of years, this former back water town was considered nothing more than a mere page in the history of Malaysia and no one ever bothered to raise her name in the annals of History to match her glory years 647 years ago under the Malacca Sultanate periods. Until Today.
Today, She is transformed .
To the nay sayer for development in this City, I say to you-
Inaction is no escape from the complexities of life and submission to Life
means accepting the complexities, contradictions and paradoxes that make up
the mottled landscape of living itself.
No, we cannot run from our fears and anxieties and we cannot gloss them over
with counterfeit simple solutions either. But learn we must,to appreciate God's Love
which can also be through man's creations while you are alive to ensure you do not
look back to a life unfulfilled when your time is over.
MY emotional contribution to this historic event is penned below:
REMEMBER,REMEMBER,my Brethren in Beautiful Melaka,
This land, pursued all through ages by
The Portuguese & Dutch Conquerors,
The British, 'n' the Japanese Righteous Crusaders,
Were all here for a reason?
Once it was the Trade winds, then it was the spice trades,
Later it was because of the Minerals and ore, even communism
which they said was at odds with our core; today, it's the tourist dollar and it's mores
"Aujourd'hui roi, demain rien”- the saying in french ...
The Kings of today will be but commoners tomorrow
The dust will settle, and dreams will be rendered,
but through it all, the amour towards this place and it's people should not be a sundered
For we the people will continue to live here, learn here and love here.
When all else ends; Melaka will still be here
This land is where my soul resides; this earth where my body and bones crumbles and dies
MALACCA, Oct 6 — The Malacca government will set up a special committee to trace and bring back professionals born in the state who are now working abroad.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ali Rustam said the special committee would be chaired by Melaka State Secretary Datuk Wira Omar Kaseh.
“We want these professionals and experts to return and serve in Melaka so that the state can progress further,” he told reporters after opening the International Management Education Conference 2010 organised by Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), here today.
He said this when asked to comment on the statement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak two days ago that a Talent Corporation would be set up to woo Malaysian professionals working abroad to come back and work in Malaysia.
Ali said the four sectors that needed professional manpower were biotechnology, information and communication technology, health, and renewable energy.
“The Melaka government is prepared to give incentives to attract those who want to come back and bring further progress to the state,” he added. — Bernama
Road to progress began with riddle, Melaka CM reveals
By Debra Chong
October 20, 2010
Ali Rustam sought to model Melaka after the city-state of Luxembourg. — file pic
MELAKA, Oct 20 — Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam’s intent to declare the historical state fully-developed at exactly 8.10pm today has raised eyebrows and drawn both applause and laughter at the extent he will go to create a record — think 20:10, 20/10, 2010.
Mohd Ali, however, is unperturbed by what others think. For the veteran chief minister, it is the results that matter most, as he revealed in an interview with The Malaysian Insider.
His idea of a fully-developed state is one modelled after the tiny European city-state of Luxembourg — clean, progressive, high-income with people of good moral character and a sustainable economy with a healthy workforce and where at least 40 per cent of the population has a college or university education.
The vision came to him 10 years ago, he said, soon after taking the chief minister’s office.
“Melaka lacks natural resources,” Mohd Ali pointed out, when asked what drove him to seek a developed status.
He was faced with a dilemma — how to develop a state a quarter the size of Selangor and without natural resources.
He took it as a challenge.
If a tiny city-state like Luxembourg could compete globally and maintain economic independence despite being handicapped by its lack of natural resources, so could Melaka, Mohd Ali disclosed.
And so he moved to draw up plans to turn Melaka into a sustainable, knowledge-based economy that could weather the global trends, following a roadmap secured from the Organisation of Economic Co-operative Development (OECD).
He started concentrating on building up the sectors that capitalise on Melaka’s rich history as a centre of civilisation and melting-pot culture, namely tourism.
The sector received a boon two years ago when it was jointly awarded the coveted Unesco World Heritage City status, together with George Town in Penang.
Today, tourist arrivals in the state have increased four-fold, from 1.7 million in 2000 to 8.9 million last year, Mohd Ali boasted, rattling off the figures from the top of his head.
Eighty per cent of them are domestic, the CM admitted, but the tourism boost has spilled over into other sectors — including shopping, food, healthcare, education, recreation and green technology. This not only bolstered the state economy but also moved it in the direction he envisioned 10 years ago.
New mega malls such as Dataran Pahlawan and Hatten Square have sprung up in the last five years in Melaka Raya, which used to fringe the city but has become the new centre.
Four hospitals have also been built in the same area, which draw in a large number of “medical tourists” from Sumatra, Indonesia.
Hundreds of budget inns have mushroomed in the last five years to cater to this new type of tourist.
Budget hotelier, Johan Ramli, claimed there were some 3,000 rooms within the one square kilometre of land.
“It’s convenient. Everything is within one to two minutes’ walking distance,” the 63-year-old added.
Various colleges have also been set up, the latest being the Melaka-Manipal Medical College, which is expanding its city campus.
A new solar production plant will be opening in the state by year’s end, creating 2,000 new jobs. Of those, 700 to 800 will be for engineering positions, Mohd Ali said as he disclosed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be officiating the launch on December 15.
He was doubly proud that the state had attracted RM2.2 billion in foreign direct investment from US solar cell maker, SunPower for the project.
“The next step is to transform Melaka into a green city, fuelled by green technology,” Mohd Ali said.
For the CM, the remaining challenge is to lower the income disparity levels between the urban and rural areas in the state, noting the city: rural ratio was 1.37: 1.89.
Melaka has leveraged its popularity as a tourism spot to bring about development. — All pictures by Choo Choy May
MELAKA, Oct 20 — Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam’s zeal to make Malaysia’s third smallest state globally competitive within a decade has earned him much admiration, but locals worry if the development was truly sustainable.
Melaka-born and bred businessman, Bharat Ajmera, believes Mohd Ali is a capable leader who has laboured hard to develop the state.
“He’s really done well. He has not marginalised any community. Being Indian, I have also benefitted even though I don’t lobby him for projects,” the 45-year-old who runs the Malacca Straits Hotel in the city centre and the Trend Hotel in Melaka Raya told The Malaysian Insider in an interview.
“Melaka has developed a lot under him,” Bharat stated firmly.
He highlighted the trim landscaping and cleanliness around the city — especially in the touristy Melaka River where barges carrying passengers ply the narrow waterway day and night.
Boats carrying tourists ply Melaka’s water ways day and night.
He pointed to the proliferation of hotels, shopping malls, boutiques, colleges, cafes, hospitals, banks and busloads of tourists jamming up the city’s thoroughfares every weekend and public holiday as prime examples of progress.
The enterprising hotelier also runs several businesses related to the hospitality trade, including heritage tours, a café and a recreation park, the Taman Mini Malaysia in neighbouring Ayer Keroh.
Bharat noted the lively economy had created a job boom.
Similarly, a lecturer remarked that there was no shortage of jobs in the education sector. Demand for English teachers especially was high, with the proliferation of colleges in the state and influx of students from within the country as well as those abroad.
Graphic designer, Chris Lee, concurred. Business is good and he still gets to enjoy a leisurely life, said the Penang-born who chose to settle down in Melaka 12 years ago after returning from a long stint working in the US.
“Location is no problem. I have regular clients from the other states,” he said.
For hotelier Johan Ramli, “every day is peak season”.
The 63-year-old runs two hotels in Melaka Raya — a backpacker lodge and a budget inn popular with Indonesian tourists who regularly fly in for medical treatment at the nearby specialist centres.
But Bharat and Johan both lamented that the development was concentrated in the state capital, which was starting to suffer the side effects of poor supervision by the local authorities.
Taxi driver V. Sellapan, 63, bemoaned the poor traffic management in the city, especially during the weekends and public holidays when tourists from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur would drive into the city centre and add to the congestion.
“They need to improve the traffic management system,” he stressed.
Parking was another major headache with Melaka’s scratch-coupon system bewildering for the first-time visitor.
To park a vehicle in any of the street-side parking bays, the motorist is required to scratch out the date and duration the car will be parked on a coupon booklet and display it in the car windscreen.
Signs bearing the information and where the booklets can be bought are lacking in public, often resulting in a fine for the hapless motorist.
Sellapan and Johan remarked there used to be a hop-on, hop-off bus service around town for tourists, but shrugged when asked what happened to it.
A monorail project scheduled to run three months ago also appears stillborn. Its tracks can be seen clearly around the city, especially from the riverside, but locals appear to have been kept in the dark over its status.
Jonker Street has been misguidedly labelled Melaka’s “Chinatown”.
“I heard there was some land issue problem, but there has been no official word,” Johan said.
What worries Bharat most, however, is the lack of co-ordination among the various state agencies, whether tourism or enforcement.
He noted with concern the speedy approval for hotel operating licences given out by local authorities and questioned if proper care had been taken to check the quality of the operator.
He also questioned the approval for projects in Melaka’s core heritage area.
“Melaka’s selling point is its culture. If don’t take care, we will lose it and then tourism will drop,” warned Bharat.
Local heritage conservationist, Josephine Chua, echoed Bharat’s concern.
“Development for Melaka on the whole is good. But in the core area and buffer area, it needs to be managed,” Chua said, who feared that Melaka’s real history as a melting-pot civilisational centre was being over-written by “plastic” history.
The first mistake was labelling the Jonker Street area as “Chinatown”.
The history buff said the area was and remains a very racially mixed neighbourhood and pointed to the existence of Kampung Kekek — or Ketek as the signboard proclaims — a tight huddle of houses opposite the Cheng Hoon Teng, the state’s oldest Chinese temple where 18th century Malay writer, Abdullah Abdul Kadir, better known as Munshi Abdullah, once lived.
A detour into the bicycle-only lanes one sultry weekday afternoon revealed a very multicultural village smack in the heart of the city. An elderly Malay man was spritzing his pet songbirds with water to cool them down. Next door, an elderly Chinese woman was hanging out her laundry, and in the house opposite, an Indian lady sat on a low stool peeling onions in the front yard.
The chief minister needs to pay attention to the heritage zone and not cover it up with “plastic” culture, Chua stressed, pointing to the shiny plastic banners advertising a certain brand of crisps plastered across town — on flyover arches, on a permanent stage fronting one part of Jonker Street and even on the river boats cruising the Melaka River.
Some worry the unbridled progress comes at the price of the state’s rich heritage.
“It’s not Melaka losing its Unesco heritage status. It’s Malaysia losing it,” she cried. Melaka and George Town in Penang were both awarded heritage city status in 2008.
As the head of the municipal council, it was her duty to ensure all new development was carried out strictly according to municipal guidelines, Chua added.
But she admitted that there was only so much one person can do, and her state council did not appear to be co-operating.
“It’s so sad that no one’s listening to our CM who wants sustainable development,” she sighed.
Lee the graphic designer and a heritage buff observed shrewdly, “Malacca needs people with passion.”
For Bharat, Mohd Ali has the passion, but lacks the support where most needed.
“His downlines are not supporting him. Some of them are not giving him the real picture of what’s happening down on the ground,” he said.
“I believe if he’s in control, Melaka will really become a truly developed state. If it’s not him, I don’t know,” he added.