Authorities Must Immediately Act on Malacca Relics Find

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GOPIO urges the authorities for the speedy salvage and study on the ancient relics believed to have been found along a 2km stretch beneath the Malacca river. News of the finding was released by local newspapers a couple of days ago.

According to the news, two weeks ago, a group of professional divers had discovered parts of a Hindu temple, statues and a fort-like structure. They believed that these ancient finds could point to a submerged city that existed even before Parameswara founded Malacca in 1400. Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron had acknowledged that he had received a report about the sighting of the relics.

The Hindu empire of Majapahit was a vast kingdom during its peak between 1293 and 1527. Majapahit was one of the last major empires of the region and is considered as one of the most powerful empires in the history of Southeast Asia. Its influence extended beyond the modern territory of Indonesia and has been the subject of many studies. Malacca was once an important town for Majapahit’s palace officials and soldiers who made the town their maritime headquarters.

There is news of an underwater city, a temple and structures resembling a fort. The statues and various structures are believed to be still intact. The underwater city is believed to stretch from the bridge close to Hard Rock Cafe in Malacca to Kampung Morten and is about 20m from the river surface.

It is known that ancient Malay Hindu/Buddhist civilizations have existed preceding the period of the Malaccan Sultanate. Similar findings of relics, temples and statues have also been unearthed around Kedah, Bukit Mertajam and Beruas since the 19th century. These are very important monuments and pieces of history that require in depth research.

More recently in 2009, an ancient jetty and a vast iron smelting area, promptly identified as the Kedah Tua civilisation was discovered in Sungai Batu, Kedah. Soon, it was found to be the oldest civilization in Southeast Asia, dating back 2,500 years and archaeological excavation works are still going on in the area surrounded by oil palm plantation.

The Heritage Department should also act promptly on this information on Malacca, as this important archaeological tip may just be the tip of another iceberg. Effort must be taken to save and excavate the ancient historical monuments and the findings must be made public.

Shashiedharan Chandrasegaran
GOPIO Information Bureau.