Tagged in: Malacca Government

BUKIT CHINA : A HILL STEEPED IN LEGEND AND HISTORY

Published: Friday August 16, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday August 16, 2013 MYT 11:00:18 AM

Bukit China: A hill steeped in legend and history

BY M. VEERA PANDIYAN

[email protected]

The Bukit China Chinese cemetery in Malacca is the oldest in the country.

Its name can be traced to a legendary Ming Dynasty princess who supposedly arrived from China to marry Mansur Shah, the sixth Sultan of Malacca who ruled Malacca from 1459 to 1477.

Bukit China (Chinese Hill) was originally an undulating jungle of three mounds — Bukit Tinggi, Bukit Gedong and Bukit Tempurong.

It apparently took on the name after the Sultan allowed the entourage of princess Hang Li Poh to settle around the foot of the main hill.

These days, there are doubts over the purported royal lineage of Hang Li Po, as there is no written evidence to show that she was indeed a princess.

The guesswork is that she might have been a daughter of one of the emperor’s concubines or even a royal handmaiden.

But there are no doubts about the special relationship between Malacca and China then.

According to the Ming Shi-lu (Veritable Records Of The Ming Dynasty), an envoy of Balimisura (Parameswara) went to China in 1405 to offer tribute and another arrived two years later, complaining about Siam’s aggression and seizure of his kingdom’s royal seal.

An example of past architecture at Bukit China.
The following year, Ming’s renowned admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) was sent to Malacca.

Parameswara gave another tribute to the emperor the following year after Siam stopped intimidating his kingdom.

The records also note that Parameswara arrived at the emperor’s court on Aug 4, 1411 with his family of 540 followers and that he was treated with respect and showered with banquets and impressive presents during his stay.

As for Sultan Mansur Shah, the palace where he supposedly lived with all his wives, including Hang Li Po, was said to be at the foot of Bukit Melaka (today’s St Paul’s Hill).

There is now a replica of the palace, which houses the Malacca Cultural Museum. It was built using three types of hardwood — cengal, rasak and belian (for the roof) — based on what was written in Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals).

It was written that the sultan ordered a well to be dug at Bukit China for the new immigrants. The well, Perigi Raja remains to this day and never dries up even during droughts.

Bukit China remained largely forested until the Portuguese built a chapel called Madre De Deus (Mother of God) and monastery at the top of the hill in 1581.

It was destroyed in an Achehnese attack in 1629. The Achehnese actually held Malacca for about eight months before the Portuguese won it back.

The monastery was rebuilt when the Achehnese were finally defeated with the deaths of prominent warriors, including Panglima Pidi whose grave, known as keramat panjang (long sacred grave) remains on Bukit China.

There are about 20 other Muslim graves nearby and the area used to be a favourite haunt of those seeking “spiritual help” for four-digit numbers during the 60s and early 70s.

In addition to the beach at Tanjung Kling, it was also an alternative site for the then popular Mandi Safar festival which was banned as “unIslamic” activities during the 80’s.

Bukit China became a Chinese cemetery in 1685 when Lee Wei King, the then “Kapitan China” of Malacca, bought the three hills from the Dutch and renamed them as “San Pao Shan” (Three Gems Hill or Three Protections Hill). He placed it under the trust of the Cheng Hoon Teng temple.

Reputedly the oldest remaining traditional Chinese burial ground in the world with 12,500 graves, Bukit China remained largely unknown and mostly overgrown until about this time of the year, 29 years ago.

All hell literally broke loose during the Hungry Ghosts Festival in 1984, when the Malacca Government announced its plans to develop the 42ha hill into a housing and commercial centre in July 1984.

The then Chief Minister, (now Tan Sri) Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik, gave three options — development of the hill solely by the Chinese community, joint development by the state and community or development by the state.

The plan sparked anger and outrage throughout the country, moving the diverse community to come together to preserve a heritage symbolising their earliest ancestors links to the country.

When the trustees of the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple conducted a survey to gauge public response on the development proposal, 553 associations and close to 300,000 people replied with a resounding no, against a mere 73 who agreed.

The country’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, was among those against the plan, lending more weight to calls for its preservation.

Representatives of political parties urged the then PM (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad to intervene and resolve the politically explosive and racially divisive issue.

As Carolyn Cartier, professor of geography and urban studies at the University of Technology, Sydney noted in her book, Globalising South China, the Save Bukit China campaign achieved ethnic and class representation and became a national movement, the first to grow to such proportions in the history of the country.

The State government eventually relented and has since been promoting Bukit China as part of its rich cultural heritage.

Today, the hill has become a recreational ground where joggers have carved out a track between graves. It has also become a valuable green lung for the city, offering great views from the peak.

The Chinese living around the area, covering Jalan Bukit China, Lorong Bukit China, Jalan Temenggong, Kampung Bukit China and nearby Banda Kaba, are referred to as the “San Pao Ching” community, in reference to several old wells in the area, seven of which were said to be dug during the time of Zheng He.

In addition to a hike up the hill, among the must-see sights for tourists are the Poh San Teng temple, built in 1795 by another Kapitan China, Chua Su Cheong and the Chinese War Memorial, located next to it.

The cenotaph to remember those who were brutally killed during the Japanese Occupation consists of an obelisk inscribed with Chinese calligraphy mounted on a raised platform with a Kuomintang flag at the top.

Thousands were killed after Malacca fell to the Japanese on Jan 15, 1942. The horror stories include burying victims alive and the killing of babies by throwing them up into the air and stabbing them with bayonets as they fell.

Article source: http://tourism-melaka.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

MELAKA PLANS YACHTING HUB

YACHTING HUB: State plans to build marinas to attract 20pc of seafarers who pass by straits every year

MALACCA: THE Malacca government is hoping to attract 20 per cent of more than 3,000 yachts passing through the Straits of Malacca each year with the construction of marinas along the coasts of Klebang and Tanjung Kling.

The building of the marinas would be a private sector initiative with the support of the state government in terms of land, basic infrastructure and policies.

Chief Minister Datuk Idris Haron said the state, once a famed port of call for sailors from all corners of the world, had the potential to see its glorious past resurrected.

“I was told that at least 3,000 yachts pass through the Straits of Malacca annually and if we can get 500 of them to stop here, it would not only boost tourism but also create an economic spin off for the local economy.

“The sailors travelling in their own yachts are in a league of their own and they will definitely contribute to our economy.

“With the marinas, we would also provide services such as maintenance for their vessels, medical attention, food and beverages and also other facilities to attract them,” he said after launching two new Catamarans, a 50-footer and a 33-footer, built by local boat manufacturer, Boat Explorer Sdn Bhd, at the Seafarer Restaurant in Klebang here yesterday.

Idris said Klebang and Tanjung Kling could be the next “Gold Coast” in southeast Asia.

“In Malacca, there are many areas which could be turned into marinas but we have to be selective and make it happen. Just look at Sungai Melaka, once an eyesore, it is now the most visited tourist attraction in the state.

“However, before implementing the marina projects, we have to conduct a proper study.”

Asked if the new state administration had any plans to salvage sunken treasures believed to lie off the coast of Malacca, Idris said no proper and credible research had been done on the possible locations.

“If there are pictures of these treasures and proper research done on the vessels, then we do not mind embarking on an exploration to look for them.”

Idris also thanked Boat Explorer, a branded recreational boat builder, for helping to promote the state among its customers.

Read more: CM: Malacca can be the next Gold Coast – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/cm-malacca-can-be-the-next-gold-coast-1.298497#ixzz2W1RBkIvC

Article source: http://tourism-melaka.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

MELAKA RIVER PROJECT NOW A MODEL FOR OTHERS

14 June 2013| last updated at 11:38PM

Sungai Melaka project a model for others

By Jason Gerald | [email protected]

REHABILITATION: The once lifeless waterway has been turned into Malacca’s most lucrative tourism product

THE phrase “Everything began in Malacca” is not something which was just coined to attract tourism, but is in actual fact what this state has to offer to other states in Malaysia.

The birth of the nation is attributed to the glory of the Malacca sultanate in the 15th century, and Malacca is where the independence of Malaysia was first announced by the country’s founding father, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj at the Dataran Pahlawan in Banda Hilir.

Malacca has been a benchmark for many developments in the country after the state was steered into becoming a developed state — recognised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — and is now spearheading the nation’s green technology initiatives.

And now, what was once famed as one of the busiest ports in the world, the Melaka River, is becoming a benchmark for the rehabilitation and beautification of rivers throughout the country.

Known as the Venice of the East in the 15th century, the waterway had slowly deteriorated and became one of the dirtiest rivers in the country till some 12 years ago.

In 2001, the state government, with assistance from the Federal Government, had embarked on the first phase of the Melaka River beautification project costing some RM200 million.

The first phase of the Melaka River rehabilitation project started at the tip of the river mouth to the Hang Tuah bridge which included the construction of two new jetties and an archway across the river.

The restoration and beautification project paid off handsomely, as now the once lifeless river has not only been revived but it has been turned into the most lucrative tourism product that Malacca has to offer.

The recent Sungai Melaka International River Festival created history when the Drainage and Irrigation Department director-general, Datuk Ahmad Husaini Sulaiman, said the State administration’s success in turning the river into one of the finest in the country, region and also the world would be the main point of reference for the revival and beautification of all rivers in the country.

The effort taken by the Malacca government in beautifying the Melaka River has not only managed to turn the river into a commodity for tourism but also helped in mitigating floods.

Under the 10th Malaysia Plan all rivers in the country were allocated RM3.47 billion for flood mitigation works, rehabilitation and beautification exercise. Melaka alone was allocated RM285 million.

In Malacca’s case, this money was not only used for flood mitigation works but also for the cleaning, beautification, and upgrading of the river system from the Sungai Melaka estuary right up to Malim.

This success of making Sungai Melaka into a living river is proposed to be replicated across the country.

Sungai Melaka is flanked by several delightful structures such as the Dutch or Red Square, traditional villages and other tourist attractions. In the second phase of its rehabilitation would start at the Hang Jebat bridge up to Batu Hampar, covering 5.2km.

The second phase would be divided into three main work packages; first would cover a 2.4km waterway from the Hang Jebat bridge to the Tun Razak bridge, followed by 1.2km from the Tun Razak bridge to the Melaka Sentral bridge, and the final package from the Melaka Sentral bridge to the Tidal Control Gate that stretches for 1.6km.

This would also include deepening the depth of the river, constructing walls and walkways along the river, landscapes, three water taxi stations at Taman Rempah and Jusco AEON, building unique bridges and beautifying the banks of the river.

Once the project is completed, the water quality of Sungai Melaka is expected to improve from class 111 barometer to class 11B by the year 2015.

The current success of the Melaka River rehabilitation and beautification project could also be seen through the Melaka River Cruise.

When the cruise started in 2006 there were only 56 visitors, but last year alone it attracted some 1.1 million passengers, and this year it is targeted that the Melaka River Cruise would attract some 1.4 million visitors.

Besides being a benchmark for rivers in Malaysia, the Malacca government is also aiming to work towards getting this event listed on the World Tourism Calendar of Events, similar to the San Antonio River festival in Texas, United States.

Read more: Sungai Melaka project a model for others – Columnist – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/sungai-melaka-project-a-model-for-others-1.299900#ixzz2WE8IVouO

Article source: http://tourism-melaka.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

MELAKA 750 YEARS OLD

Chinese archives hold key to Malacca’s founding

October 11, 2012

FMT LETTER: From NK Khoo, via e-mail

The Malacca sultanate’s existence is proven only through cross reference with other historical archives from China, Siam, Portuguese, etc. because all archives from the Malacca palace were believed to have been destroyed during the wartime.

Historians are fully aware that China’s Ming dynasty history is the most well documented archives in the world, unlike Malacca’s history which was written a hundred years later.

Ming palace records are still existence and can be accessed by researchers to verify when Parameswara visited Nanjing.

Parameswara’s visit to China in 1405 was well documented in the Ming palace official journals with the details such as of what food served to him and his delegation on a particular day.

If the founding date for Malacca is 1262, then the history of the Ming Dynasty and Siam are all proven wrong or at least the Ming Dynasty history has to be brought forward 150 years to synchronise with the new Malacca history as claimed by Malacca government. This is a very unlikely event!

Most world renowned historians will not accept a history announced by local government without proper research works done on the subject. History still has to substantiated with evidences like palace official documents, artifacts, cross reference archives, etc.

Article source: http://tourism-melaka.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

AIRPORT HUB FOR BATU BERENDAM AIRPORT?

Tuesday April 3, 2012

Big plans for Batu Berendam Airport

MALACCA: The Malacca Government wants to transform the Batu Berendam Airport into a regional hub for the Asia-Pacific airlines.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the plan to integrate international, domestic and regional services under one roof would attract more airlines.

“This vision has the potential to improve traffic flow with the upgrading of the airport into a regional hub with more aircraft gates,” he said here yesterday.

He said the plan is expected to gain momentum following the maiden flight of Sky Aviation for the Malacca-Tanjung Pinang-Malacca sector last Friday.

Mohd Ali said the Tanjung Pinang-Malacca-Tanjung Pinang sector is poised to attract an estimated 30,000 passengers annually.

The Star on March 24 reported that an airlines, a fusion between budget and high-end carrier, is eyeing Batu Berendam airport as their international hub.

Article source: http://tourism-melaka.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default