- 2006/12/01 Malacca tower excavation unearths ruins Dutch fort

The ancient wall discovered in the middle of the town will not be demolished. Instead, it is the 110m revolving tower project being built at the site that has to make way.

"The ancient fort cannot be damaged by a modern project as the Heritage Act stops us from doing that," Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim told reporters after visiting the site near the historical Stadhuys building yesterday.

Dr Rais, who described the discovery as a "gem of a historical find", said he would present an initial report to the Cabinet in two weeks, with recommendations on the siteís preservation. The wall is believed to date back to the era of Portuguese rule in Malacca (1511-1641).


Image: Dr Rais (in blue) in deep discussion with officials at the site where an ancient wall was discovered in Malacca on Sunday. With him are Ismail (in yellow) and Ab Rahaman (next to Ismail).
Dr Rais (in blue) in deep discussion with officials at the site where an ancient wall was discovered in Malacca on Sunday. With him are Ismail (in yellow) and Ab Rahaman (next to Ismail).



He added that the initial two-week stop work order on the RM21mil viewing tower project Ė built by Kumpulan Melaka Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the state government Ė had now become indefinite.

Dr Rais also said he had spoken to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, who would be discharged from Putra Hospital today, on the matter.

"We are enthusiastic about the find. It is like history in the making. The discovery has significant impact to both the state and the country and is an invaluable gain."

"This will definitely become another tourist attraction."

He announced that a joint committee between Melaka Museums Corp and the ministry's heritage department would be formed, with priority given to work on the discovery. Financial allocation from his ministry was also under way.

"The ministry wants to re-construct some of the vital portions of the wall. We need to conduct more research."

Also present at the site yesterday were State Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Ab Rahaman Ab Karim, state secretary Datuk Wira Ismail Saleh and Commissioner of Heritage Prof Datuk Dr Siti Zuraina Abdul Majid.

Dr Rais was briefed on the archaeological work progress.

The tower project started two months ago, with Dr Rais himself performing the ground-breaking ceremony.

Builders were stumped when they hit something solid during piling work only to discover that it was the ancient wall.

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