By Rosli Mansor
“Turning Kuala Kangsar into a smart and liveable royal town isn’t impossible. However, maintaining it requires not only commitment but the involvement of all stakeholders,” said Zulqarnain Mohamad, the newly-minted Kuala Kangsar Municipal Council President who aspires to restore Kuala Kangsar’s glory days.
Zulqarnain was previously with the Town Planning Department of Ipoh City Council. He served the department for over 28 years. And within the said period he rose in rank from a desk officer to department chief.
Zulqarnain completed his primary education in Batu Gajah and Parit and his secondary studies at Malay College Kuala Kangsar. He did his tertiary education obtaining a bachelor degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, USA. He obtained a master degree in city and regional planning from Georgia Institute of Technology and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in built environment at the International Islamic University Malaysia, Gombak, Selangor.
“Looking back in history, Kuala Kangsar was the administrative centre for Perak. During the British colonial era, it switched to Taiping but the Japanese Imperial Army made Ipoh the administrative capital of Perak. And it has remained as such till today,” recalled Zulqarnain.
He had prepared many papers for national and international-level forums. One of his original papers entitled, ‘Tourism Promotion Organisation for Asia Pacific Cities 2014’ was tabled in Sanya, China in 2014.
“I presented another paper titled, ‘Ipoh Old Town — Heritage Tourism as a Planning Tool towards Sustainability’ at the 2018 Asian-Pacific Cities Summit in Fukuoka, Japan,” Zulqarnain added.
“I’m focusing on collaborative efforts between public and private sectors in planning and boosting tourism while designing a framework for low-carbon emission as a sustainable tool,” he said. “Hopefully, events such as car-free days and reviving town heritage will contribute towards boosting tourism.”
Zulqarnain is confident that Kuala Kangsar will prosper and progress because the royal town is rich in heritage, culture, art and history, which are beneficial for tourism promotion.
“Hopefully, by turning Kuala Kangsar into a green royal town it’ll acquire the international recognition it truly deserves,” he remarked.
Appointments1990-1991: Temporary Maths and English teacher at Sekolah Raja Perempuan Taayah, Ipoh.1991-2010: Town Planning Officer, Ipoh City Council.2010-2011: Special Assistant (Town Planning) to Mayor.2011-2018: Director of Town Planning Department, Ipoh City Council.2018-2019: Senior Director Planning and Development Department Ipoh City Council.9 Mei 2019: Kuala Kangsar Municipal President.