How did LIMA'19 go down? We have the statistics, photo highlights, and we look back at Prime Minister Tun Mahathir's first LIMA speech 28 years ago.
The 2019 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition (LIMA’19), jointly organised by EN Projects (M) Sdn Bhd, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Transport, ended on the 30th of March after a 5 day long successful run.
LIMA’19’s theme was ‘Defence and Commercial Connecting Intelligence’ and it closed with a record number of combined trade visitors totalling 42,030 from 63 countries with 406 local and international exhibitors. On the last 2 days opened to the public, 237, 114 visitors were recorded in attendance at Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre (MIEC) and Resorts World Langkawi where the aerospace and maritimes exhibitions took place respectively.
28 Years Ago
At 8am sharp on the first day of LIMA’19, Prime Minister YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad began the opening ceremony with nostalgia:
The 15th edition of LIMA brings back memories of the momentous 1991 edition when I launched the 1st Blueprint for the Development of the Aerospace Industry in Malaysia. It was a bold move for some and baby steps for others. But looking at what we have before us the development of the aerospace industry today, it was a necessary move to ensure that Malaysia kept up with the catalytic and rapidly growing industry.
This was something that was a point of conversation in the weeks leading up to LIMA’19: Tun Mahathir was returning close to 3 decades later as Prime Minister again to the event he himself launched in 1991. We take a look back at Tun Mahathir’s speech at the inaugural LIMA to see how far we have come since.
Connecting Aircraft Buyers & Sellers
In the PM’s 1991 speech during the opening of the inaugural LIMA, he lists a few reasons for launching the event. One was because the South East Asian economy at the time was on a rise and increasing affluence meant more flying was becoming more accessible. The airshow segment of LIMA was meant to connect buyers of private and commercial aircrafts with the manufacturers.
“…a padi farmer thinks nothing of fly- ing from his state to Kuala Lumpur in the morning to return late at night.”Tun Mahathir, 11 November 1991 / LIMA’91 speech
Encouraging Pleasure Boats
Another reason was to encourage the ownership of pleasure boats in the region, again taking advantage of the rising wealth in South East Asia.
“Malaysia imposes no tax on pleasure crafts. Foreigners are welcome to register their boats in Malaysia. Of course, they can keep their boats here as well.”Tun Mahathir, 11 November 1991 / LIMA’91 speech
Tun Mahathir had also mentioned hopes of creating a new industry to cater to the needs of navy patrol-boats, customs and immigration naval crafts. The intention was to encourage the setting up of marinas and boat servicing and maintenance facilities in Malaysia, in particular in Langkawi in the West Coast, and Terengganu in the East Coast.
Growing The Aerospace Industry
Finally, an aim for LIMA was to promote Langkawi for selected aerospace industry and business. Tun Mahathir’s vision was for foreigners to take advantage of the island’s free trade status, where imports and exports are completely taxfree.
“For this purpose we intend to allow expatriates to take up temporary residence here. Bungalows and condominiums are being built for sale or rental or time-sharing in order to enable expatriates to live comfortably.”Tun Mahathir, 11 November 1991 / LIMA’91 speech
LIMA & Langkawi Today
Looking back, the aspirations he had made for LIMA seem so modest now. Langkawi has grown by leaps and bounds since 1991 and part of it is thanks to the original LIMA blueprint. Our island is known today to have some of the most affordable marinas in the world, and its popularity can clearly be seen at any one of the island busy marinas. There is also a big expat community that continues to grow with the high demand in retirees wanting to make Langkawi their second home.
Tun Mahathir had ended his 1991 speech with,
“I am sure that you will appreciate now why LIMA 91 is not just another aerospace show or boat show. I cannot guarantee that you will make a sale here. But I am quite sure that there will be a lot of potential buyers whom you can cultivate. After all, one does not decide to buy an aeroplane or a yacht just like that. They cost a pretty penny and the people who come by these pretty pennies are not the kind who will throw them away. I wish all exhibitors all the best. Even if you make no sale you will have a nice relaxed vacation in Langkawi, the 99 enchanted islands of Malaysia.”
That was 28 years ago. At LIMA’19, a total of RM4 billion worth of business deals were made – consisting of procurement contracts, memorandum of understandings, letter of intent and letter of acceptance; showing an increase from RM3.8 billion in the previous edition. We’re also pretty sure that most, if not all visitors and exhibitors still have a great time enjoying Langkawi’s beauty almost 30 years later.
For us here at Langkawi Mai Mai, LIMA’19 will always be remembered fondly as the one where we were honoured to be selected as one of its official supporting media. Having been given the opportunity – as a fledgling, newly launched website – to cover certain aspects of this gargantuan event of international caliber was a great learning process for us and we hope to be a part of the next one.
Here are our selected highlights. Enjoy!
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