Preserve Malacca’s Historical Charm!

A letter, which I wrote to The Star, was just published today. Can you believe it’s only the second of 12 letters to the editor that I have sent that was published? And it all appeared in the same newspaper!

The issue which riled me up this time was regarding more money being misused by the government for something totally not useful to us – a 110metre high revolving tower in Malacca…mere metres away from the famed Studhuys Building, a majestic remnant of the state’s Dutch past.

I tried to search for pictures of the Studhuys using Google Image Search and I just don’t believe that there’s only 8 images of it! And none of these eight images are linkable because the original sites were all offline long ago! Says a lot about promoting our Malaysian historical sites on theInternet, huh?

Anyways, here’s the unedited version of the letter which I sent to the editor:

Reading about the Malaccan state government’s plans to build a tower, “Malacca to build 110m-high revolving tower” (The Star, Oct 11), has left a history buff like me feeling disappointed and sad.

I definitely concur with A Malaccan, who wrote the letter “Malacca a historical city” (The Star, Oct 12) that it is definitely sad to see that the government had decided to focus on building modern structures amidst the precious old buildings of Malacca. They could have used the funds to preserve our national heritage and draw tourists to experience an authentic historical Malay city, but instead they plan to build a measly 110m tower that is of no value and to build it so close to the Studhuys!

If tourists want to come to Malaysia to see towers, they can go to Kuala Lumpur…there are TWO modern, taller towers for them to get excited about. They can even go to Kedah to see Alor Setar’s tower as well. Even that one is taller than the proposed Malaccan tower. May I remind the state government that towers have no lasting significance to enthrall visitors, once you’ve seen one you’ve seen all of them.

But think of what it would feel like to be walking along the ruins of A Famosa, to be within the halls of the Studhuys and to walk along the streets of Jonker Street and still see the good old rickshaws and may be the occassional bullcart. To most tourists, all this is an experience of a lifetime that cannot be replicated elsewhere, unique to Malacca and only Malacca.

I understand that the government is trying to develop the state but in my opinion, Malacca can be just as developed and successful as Kuala Lumpur without losing its historical value and importance, which would definitely happen if more and more modern buildings are built like the tower.

I don’t understand why RM21 million have to go to waste when it could be channeled to various organisations to preserve buildings and develop programs that will be able to draw tourists to this once famous port city. One plan I can think of is to get people to dress up as old Malay and Portugese warriors and reenact the famous battles of old. If the Americans have annual reenactments of their Civil War, why can’t we have reenactments of our own?

I hope that some common sense would prevail among the government politicians who had approved the building for the tower. There is no doubt that building this tower would lead to more new modern projects and I fear that Malacca would no longer become an authentic historical city which I come to love and cherish…even though I’m a Penangite!

The Eternal Wanderer


  1. Well said, and I whole-heartedly agree. I haven’t been to Melaka in a while, but the last time was a sightseeing visit. It wasn’t impressive, though I know that there is more to Melaka than meets the eye.

    The RM21m will be better spent on preservation and more interesting ways to keep Melaka’s history alive.

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