Damian S. L. Yeo & L. C. Goh (DSLY)
No. 2007, Lorong Sidang Omar, off Jalan Penghulu Abbas, Bukit Baru, Hang Tuah Jaya, 75100 Melaka

Tel : 06-2347011
& 06-2347012
Fax: 06-2347022


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Portuguese Settlement Act, can we have it?

the fort A'Famosa

the square

I was so excited, like a school boy (orang baru). That was my feeling during my campaign as a DAP candidate for Duyong state seat and trust me, I enjoyed very much the hantam'ing' of the state government's total failure administration and management of the state. As I have said during the campaign, the state debt of RM1.05 billion, the unnecessary and uncontrolled spending, the many big white elephant projects, the reclamation of land off the coast of Melaka strait etc. are all works that are of no good to the people. The government failed to adhere to the wishes of the people. I call that INSENSITIVE.

But what I most enjoyed and excited about during the campaign (though I lost with a slim majority of 806) was my visit with Saudara Tay the then candidate for Banda Hilir (now YB Tay), and Saudara Sim the then candidate for Kota Melaka (now YB Sim) the political ceramah we did in the Portuguese Settlement. I was literally asking God (Oh yes I was praying to Him for revelation) what should I speak about for the people in the Settlement. Now here goes.....

I must first thank Kelvin, the legal advisor to the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and the Trustees of the Temple for allowing me to politicise and campaign on the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple issue as there were some under currents wanting the Trustees to surrender the right to govern and manage especially Bukit Cina to the Federal Government under the National Heritage Act. Of course if the Trustees were to surrender, it would mean that the government will be in control over this beautiful heritage. We, of course together with the Trustees objected to these under currents as we do not want history to be repeated.

The Cheng Hoon Teng temple trustees role and obligation is governed by the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (Incorporation) Act 1949. Meaning there is a private Act of Parliament guaranteeing the temple's future and its role as guardian of the community's spiritual and cultural heritage. The prime mover, Tun Sir Tan Cheng Lock, became one of the first trustees under the Act. This Act empowers the Trustees as the guardian and as such is not at the mercy of the state government. So any move against the Act will be ultra vires.

Now what about the Portuguese people. What about the settlement? I was informed that the Settlement, historically covers the area of Tranquerah (Tengkera). Unfortunately the Settlement is now hovering an area of about 40 acres or so. Over the years, their land was taken over by the state government, their income through fishing activities were diminished due to the reclamation of sea front, the hotel (Lisbon Hotel) which was not run by the people of the Settlement and sooner or later, the rich heritage of the the Malacca-Creole Portuguese will one day become non existence.

So what is the future then for them and where the Malacca-Creole Portuguese is heading?

As such I felt that it is so important for the introducing of an Act of Parliament that would benefit the minorities called the Malacca-Creole Portuguese. It will not only to govern the Portuguese people but at the same time to preserve and uplift the fading culture of the Kristangs, to promote, develop, strengthen and sustain the customs, traditions and Heritage of the Malacca-Creole Portuguese and the ultimate self-governing not at the mercies of the state and federal government.

After 50 years of Independence, it is time for bigger and more visible Projects to show off the rich cultural tapestry of Malacca. Merging the old tradition and the new era of technology will definitely enrich Malacca as a whole. There must be some preservation of the rich heritage of the Portuguese people. Their heritage cannot be forgotten as they will contribute greatly to the tourism industry of the state and Malaysia. As such the state government and concerned must rally together to cause a success of what I would call the Portuguese Settlement Act. I hope we will able to push through this agenda and I hope by 2009, and in commensurate the 500th Anniversary of the coming of the Portuguese people to Tanah Melayu a new Act of Parliement be introduced.

As far as I am concerned, this is not a political ploy or gimmick, but a sincerity on my side and from the DAP to see a tremendous growth of the community that will always enrich the vast and rich heritage of history in Malacca thus making Malacca a glorious state once again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good foresight and This is one thing that our Melaka DAP can exist as the YBs continue to check on the greedy and corrupted govt. I feel ashame some of our MCA politicians willing to sell away our Chinese birthrights for some token of personal gains. I would call these MCA supporters being self-fish and short sighted, not thinking the community as a whole and her future generations. So, please continue to bring up the Bukit China and the our heritage issues to the younger generations. Thank you.