INDONESIA

Historic Malaysian Village Threatened by Development

"The Malaysian cities of Penang and Malacca are UNESCO cultural heritage sites due to their unique blend of cultures. But now a 600 year old village in the Malacca"

AUTHOR / Faidzal Mohtar Malaysiakini

Historic Malaysian Village Threatened by Development
Malaysia, Kampung Budaya Chetty, construction, UNESCO, Malaysiakini

The Malaysian cities of Penang and Malacca are UNESCO cultural heritage sites due to their unique blend of cultures. But now a 600 year old village in the Malacca’s cultural heritage status is under threat from a high-rise development and high-way project. 

Around 300 people live here in Kampung Budaya Chetty, it’s the heart of the Chettis community. They trace their heritage back to South India. Their ancestors came 600 years ago as traders. Since then they have inter-married with the locals and have a strong bond with the other races in Malaysia, says one resident SK Pillay.

“We can mix very well with the Chinese we can mix very well with the malays, and even the locals. Those days our forefathers are very close with the nyonya families, the baba and nyonyas.”

Although many of their young people have moved way, they keep their traditions alivea nd have built a heritage museum.  As a result the village is a popular tourist spot. But a development next door is threatening this. A 22 storey condominium and a 100 feet road through the village are in the works by a private company. The government has vow that the project will not directly affect the historic village. But residents like Pillay are not convinced.

“Just imagine a high rise building, a 22 storey, 3 blocks building next to the temple, a very, very old temple. It was built in the early 1800s and next to the village. We foresee that once the building is up the whole village, the ambience will be gone.”

Since 2012 they have been fighting to stop the development. Their battle gained national media attention when a literary group based in the capital stepped in and organized events for them. Uthaya Sankar is a literary activist. “We didn’t want to stay quiet, we made a racket, our racket wasn’t through a demonstration but we said we wanted to give our strength to the people there so they can have a voice.”

The villagers trace their lineage to the first settlers that came from Southern India, but for them Malaysia is very much home. “Some say go back to India, go back to India so we got to be frank we got nobody there, we got nothing we know about India, we got no blood relation, there is no village for us. Our village is Malacca this is the only village we have got.”

And for now their historical village is surrounded by a blue metal wall while construction continues behind it.


  • Malaysia
  • Kampung Budaya Chetty
  • construction
  • UNESCO
  • Malaysiakini

Komentar

KBR percaya pembaca situs ini adalah orang-orang yang cerdas dan terpelajar. Karena itu mari kita gunakan kata-kata yang santun di dalam kolom komentar ini. Kalimat yang sopan, menjauhi prasangka SARA (suku, agama, ras dan antargolongan), pasti akan lebih didengar. Yuk, kita praktikkan!