Record-setting wedding of Ali Rustam’s son paid for by sponsors

(The Malaysian Insider) – Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam’s office was forced to reveal yesterday that many of the caterers and other businesses sponsored the lavish wedding dinner of the Malacca chief minister’s son that drew over 130,000 guests during the weekend.

The wedding has come under intense public scrutiny after national news agency Bernama reported on Sunday that 26-year-old Mohd Ridhwan’s marriage to Nur Azieha Mohd Ali, also 26, lasted eight hours, with the number of guests earning a place in the Malaysia Book of Records.

An official with the Malaysia Book of Records was also present to present a certificate to the chief minister.

Mohd Ali’s special secretary Datuk MS Mahadevan was reported by The Star today as saying much of the wedding’s cost was paid for through sponsors. But he did not reveal the total cost.

Mohd Ali also did not say how much the wedding cost him, but dismissed suggestions that the wedding attended by more than 130,000 people was a lavish affair.

“No one was forced to attend the event, including state government employees,” said Mahadevan yesterday.

“This is the first wedding ceremony for the chief minister’s family and every Malaccan wanted to take part. Even estate workers wearing slippers stood in line to shake hands with the bride and bridegroom.

“Not a single sen was paid to these volunteers.”

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers have questioned how the wedding was funded, and the revelation of sponsors will spark more questions about the appropriateness of accepting money from businesses to pay for the wedding.

PR lawmakers said that even at RM10 a head, the wedding banquet would cost RM1.3 million for food and beverages alone, far more than the long-serving chief minister’s salary.

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang used his Twitter account to speculate further on the cost of the wedding, saying the banquet appeared to cost RM100 a person or potentially RM13 million just for the food.

But Malacca Umno executive secretary Datuk Akbar Ali responded to the DAP leaders’ tweets by saying they should not assume the wedding banquet was similar to a Chinese wedding dinner.

“Awak ingat ini jamuan makan malam 9 jenis seperti masyarakat Cina dengan sup sirip ikan yu. Ini cara kamu wujudkan fitnah. Ini orang yang sakit (You think this is like a nine-course Chinese dinner with shark’s fin soup. This is how you create lies. This is someone sick.)” Akbar wrote on his Twitter account.)”