Will a stain ruin a whole picture? Does a yellow card send Najib on bench?
In 1996, LADA collaborated with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in conducting a heritage research on Langkawi. After the research was completed in 2001, LADA proposed to the Kedah state government to transform Langkawi into a geopark.
Nevertheless, the project only started to begin in 2006. It was under Badawi’s leadership. Later in 2011, under Najib’s government, Langkawi Geopark was recognised by the UNESCO as a UNESCO Global Geopark. Throughout the whole time, Mahathir was the adviser for LADA. The project was still a Mahathir’s legacy, not Badawi nor Najib.
Earning a global geopark status isn’t a permanent thing. Every four years, UNESCO will conduct an evaluation on the geopark. Since the initial recognition by UNESCO, Langkawi Geopark had managed to hold onto the status for two evaluations in 2011 and 2015.
Despite that, in 2014, South China Morning Post published an article revealing that Langkawi Geopark almost get a yellow card during the 2011 evaluation. Yellow card means it’s a warning. Similar to a football match, two yellow cards equal to a red card and a red card means out. If a geopark received a red card, it is no longer a UNESCO Global Geopark. Also, in 2014, the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) produced a report disclosing the same idea that Langkawi Geopark almost lost its UNESCO status. Both reports blamed the poor management as the cause.
The total amount of visitor arrival to Langkawi had a sudden increase in 2011. There was an increase of 366,718 visitors compared to the previous year in 2010. After Langkawi Geopark became a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2011, the visitor arrival to the island was constantly increasing for the following years. Losing the UNESCO status will definitely affect the tourism industry in Langkawi. Losing tourists is a prime concern for the people who live in the tourism hub.
Overall, the near misses of Langkawi Geopark encountered in the past two evaluations had shown that the federal government neglected the maintenance on the island. So, will the people of Langkawi reject Najib in favour of Mahathir because the latter showed more concern for the island?