MELAKA June 5 — Tun Mohd Ali Rustam, who was sworn in as the seventh Yang Dipertua Negeri of Melaka today, is the first Melaka-born appointed to the post.
His six predecessors are all from other states, with two from Perak, and the other four from Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah and Pahang.
Mohd Ali, a former Melaka Chief Minister who was responsible for developing the state into one of the popular tourist destinations in the world, was born in Kampung Bukit Katil here on Aug 24, 1949.
On April 28, 1984, he married Toh Puan Sri Asmah Abdul Rahman, 64, who hails from Muar, Johor, and the couple has two sons, Mohd Ridhwan, 33, and Muhammad Hamka, 30, and a daughter, Wan Nadzirah, 32.
Mohd Ali, 70, hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science from Universiti Sains Malaysia and a Master’s Degree from Universiti Malaya.
He started work as a clerk at the then National Electricity Board in 1969 and was there for 10 years, before joining the civil service as Community Development Department director in Perlis in 1980, the department’s Federal Territory director in 1981 and in Melaka in 1982.
Know for his people-friendly attitude, he became a state assemblyman for the first time after winning the Ayer Molek seat in 1986 and the Sungai Udang state seat in the 1990 general election.
In the 1995 general election, he contested the Batu Berendam parliamentary seat and won, which then saw him appointed to the cabinet as Deputy Transport Minister until January 1999, and then as Deputy Health Minister until November the same year.
In the 1999 general election, Mohd Ali, popularly known as “Tok Ali” won the Paya Rumput state seat and was then appointed the ninth Melaka Chief Minister, replacing Datuk Seri Abu Zahar Isnin.
When helming the state as the Chief Minister, Mohd Ali had not only succeeded in making Melaka a world tourist destination, but turned it into a developed state by 2010.
He served as Melaka Chief Minister for three terms until May 5, 2013 and was made a senator on Oct 2 the same year after losing the contest for the Hang Tuah Jaya parliamentary seat in the 13th general election in 2013.
In politics, he was Bukit Katil UMNO Youth chief in 1972 and in 1986 the party’s Batu Berendam divisional head. The division is now known as Bukit Katil.
He was Melaka UMNO liaison secretary in 1988 and in 1996 was appointed its chairman.
In the 2004 UMNO general assembly, Mohd Ali was appointed the party’s vice-president.
He was also active in non-governmental organisations, having been the president of the Malaysian 4B Youth Movement, World Assembly of Youth (WAY), World Youth Foundation (WYF) and the Dunia Melayu Dunia Islam (DMDI) organisation .