Unesco should be brought in to advise on reported development in Malacca’s gazetted heritage zone Kampung Chitty cultural village.
In making the call today, Kumpulan Sasterawan Kavyan president Uthaya Sankar SB said since the heritage village has existed since 1414, and has been gazetted, there should be laws to protect it.
“Kampung Chitty has been gazetted as a heritage village, so surely there are enactments that prevent the construction of a highrise building next to it,” he said in a statement – FULL STATEMENT HERE.
“If needed, we, Kavyan, suggest that a Unesco representative be called in to survey the situation and make its report and recommendations to the Malacca historical authorities (MBMB) and Chief Minister Idris Harun,” he said.
The Malacca site is the latest historic treasure to be threatened by development, after the outcry over the destruction of ancient Hindu ruins in Kedah’s Lembah Bujang last month. A century-old Chinese village in Negri Sembilan, Kampung Hakka Mantin, has also been bulldozed, with the police arresting residents and politicians who protested.
Halted for GE13
Uthaya lamented that the Malacca government was allowing development in a gazetted heritage site despite protests from the residents.
A halt to the new development was called just before the May 5, 2013 general election.
“During the 13th general election, the chief minister at the time, Mohd Ali Rustam, was reported to have instructed the development projects to be halted.
“However, the projects have now started up again, even though the residents of Kampung Chitty are protesting,” he said.
He added that the kampung predates the arrival of the Portuguese to the history-laden state.
“The village has managed to defend its rights, identity and dignity even though the land had been colonised by the Dutch, British and the Japanese.”
This time, they are up against the state, which Uthaya said, has approved the construction of two 22-storey condominium blocks, a 12-storey hotel and a six-storey carpark on the kampung land marked as Lot 93.
Uthaya said Kavyan’s survey found that a number of historic temples were built using limestone, and development in the vicinity poses a serious threat to these structures.
“For example, Sri Anggala Parameswari Temple that has been gazetted as a national heritage site is within 300 metres of the building site, while Sri Kailasanar is 400 metres away and Muthu Mariamman Temple is just 100 metres away.”
Politicians fail to make difference.
Last week Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia chairperson P Waythamoorthy issued a statement condemning the development works at the heritage site gazetted in 2002.
Waythamoorthy, who was also made deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department to look after Indian affairs after pledging support for BN just before the 13th general election, added that the area is part of a larger protected zone gazetted in 2008.
Uthaya said action was needed quickly, considering that even MIC had failed to act on the matter.
“The president his deputy in the MIC have met with representatives of Kampung Chitty, but there has been no positive result whatsoever,” he lamented.
His group plans to hold a programme at the kampung on Dec 29 to push for the villagers’ rights to be protected – Solidariti Kampung Chetti - firstname.lastname@example.org