Media Release: Report Reveals Eroding Governance Practices Threatening Sustainable Tourism in Langkawi

INVITATION TO COLLABORATE: REPORT REVEALS ERODING GOVERNANCE PRACTICES THREATENING SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IN LANGKAWI

Media Statement, 23 March 2018

The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) has recently released a report on good governance in sustainable development and tourism in Langkawi, and would like to invite journalists and media interested in writing/shooting a longer piece to collaborate.

“In Langkawi, there is lack of awareness by the locals on the Geopark status, and the state is not doing its best to preserve the status or to educate the locals on its heritage. We found a range of ‘ill-advised activities’ which could seriously jeorpadise the environmental and tourism treasures of Langkawi, if left unchecked.” – Sudhagaran Stanley, Report Contributor, C4 Center

Langkawi is a special island in Malaysia due to its duty-free status, amazing history and the UNESCO recognised Geopark status. Since being designated as a strategic tourism island during Prime Minister Mahathir’s era, it has transformed from a quiet Island into a busy city. The millions of tourists, both local and from abroad, brings in high revenue for the island and the Kedah state as a whole. The Northern Corridor Implementing Authority (NCIA) reported that annual tourist expenditure was targeted to increase from RM9 billion in 2005 to RM21.8 billion in 2012 and it should breach RM64.5 billion by 2020.

However, the breakneck speed of development has led C4 Center to investigate the relationship between sustainable development, tourism and good governance in Langkawi. After several fact-finding missions to Langkawi, C4 Center is releasing a report titled “Langkawi (Good Governance, The Pillar to a Successful Tourism Industry)”.

This report puts together the findings from a broad spectrum of people in the public and pr ivate sectors. It is an eye-opening account of never-before published tales of the dissonance between developments on the ground and the administration. It highlights the lack of enforcement, high number of businesses operating illegally, alleged mismanagement of the IWK sewerage system, deforestation due to rapid development, wastage of public funds, the fast-paced hotel development and big GLCs moving in as key business players.

This is significant because Langkawi has attained a UNESCO recognised Global Geopark status, which seeks to not only conserve but also promote the planet’s geological heritage. They are not simply just about the conservation of geology of a region, but it incorporates the communities and socio-economic activities in it, Langkawi was once at risk of losing this status for non-compliance, and we are verging on coming close to losing it once again.

Our research indicates that Langkawi is facing serious mismanagement and good governance issues. C4 Center calls upon the state authorities to hold constant dialogs with civil society and business sectors in Langkawi as their inputs can help the authorities focus on what is needed the most. Mega-events may attract tourists and revenue, but these micro-level issues being neglected are beginning to build up and degrades the state as a whole.

Presenting the report to the Langkawi city council Presenting the report to MACC Langkawi office C4 Center has thus far presented the report to several local stakeholders such as the Langkawi office of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and the local town council. We continue to work to raise the issue with relevant parties, 

We therefore call on you to help ensure that Langkawi heritage and environment does not further degrade by the ravages of unchecked tourism and development. 

Sudhagaran Stanley stands by as the C4 Center Representative, as a resource person. C4 Center is open to work with journalists in English and Bahasa Malaysia for interviews, video exposes or longer written pieces about the sustainability of tourism in Langkawi.

Released by:

Sudhagaran Stanley (Mr.)
Northern Unit Coordinator
C4 Center
Email: Sudhagaranstanley [at] gmail [dot] com