Please help protect and sustain the well-being, environment, and heritage culture of the Portuguese Settlement at Ujong Pasir, in Melaka, Malaysia, as indiscriminate development threatens to wreak irreversible destruction
This petition had 5,706 supporters
Media Coverage of the Crisis That Needs Urgent Addressing:
Why must the Portuguese Settlement be protected and preserved for the future generations?
- The Portuguese Settlement is the so-called last bastion of the Portuguese descendants in Melaka and in this part of the world. It is irreplaceable and the reclamation of its seafront will definitely destroy this already fragile community.
- For centuries, the sea has been an integral part of the community’s survival, not only as a source of income but more so as a way of life of the people.
- The homogeneous environment of the Portuguese Settlement and its seafront provides and enables the language, customs and cultural activities of the community to be perpetuated and transmitted from generation to generation.
- The loss of historical settlements of Tranquerah, Kubu, Bunga Raya and Banda Hilir due to reclamation and development, makes it paramount that this last place be safeguarded for future generations.
- Their language called ‘Papiah Kristang’, a creole of Portuguese, is unique and classified as an endangered language in the UNESCO RedBook of Endangered Languages. There are only about 300 native speakers left, and most of them reside at the Portuguese Settlement in question.
- The annual Festa De San Pedro or Feast of St. Peter, patron saint of fishermen and seafarers, which is listed in the Malaysian Calendar of Events and celebrated on the 29th of June, will be the first casualty if the sea is reclaimed for development. And soon others like Festa De San Juang and Intrudu (the Water Festival) will follow.
- All these characteristics of the community and their intangible cultural heritage has helped Malacca to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Even though, the Portuguese Settlement at the moment is protected under a Preservation and Conservation State Enactment 1998 because of its historical and cultural significance, any physical change to its characteristics will have a tremendous ill-effect on the community, especially if the sea is reclaimed.
- The community has also helped enrich the national language with more than 500 words, and the ‘Joget’ has many similarities to the Jinkli Nona – a traditional folk dance of the Portuguese descendants of Malacca. The ‘Sarong Kebaya’, one of Malaysia’s national costumes is of local Portuguese origin. Even the community's 'Curry Debal'or 'Devil Curry' has become a popular Malaysian dish.
- The Portuguese Settlement is a famous tourist spot. It draws thousands of tourists during its annual festivals, including Christmas, where the place becomes a fairyland of lights, because of its natural homogenous environment.
- The Portuguese Settlement attracts many students, both from local and foreign universities to do their theses for their Ph.D. The unique characteristics of the community makes it a place for research and study.
- The community has also played a big role in the fields of education, sports and the civil service of early Malaysia. They have provided many loyal, dedicated and moderate people to help Malaysia become a truly multi-racial and multi-religious society which the country must be proud of.
Like the ‘Orang Asli’ of Peninsula Malaysia and the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak, the community, the smallest minority found in Malacca, must be helped and protected and not destroyed by the massive reclamation projects along the Malacca coastline, especially the Portuguese Settlement and Ujong Pasir. They need to survive and sustain themselves, lest Malaysia loses one of it’s most unique minority groups.
The Sea is our Life and our Life is the Sea. It’s like ‘Isi dengan Kuku’. It must not be separated.
The promises of the former Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Ali Rustam of Melaka that the seafront of the Portuguese Settlement will not be touched, due to frequent protests in 2008 by community members, has come to nought. The current Chief Minister of Melaka says reclamation of this area will go on.
Today: Save Portuguese Community Action Committee is counting on you
Save Portuguese Community Action Committee needs your help with “UNESCO, The Federal Government of Malaysia, The State Government of Melaka: Please step in to protect and sustain the well-being, the environment, and the heritage culture of the Portuguese Settlement at Ujong Pasir, in the state of Melaka, Malaysia, as i”. Join Save Portuguese Community Action Committee and 5,705 supporters today.