68) Conservation Issues in the Colonial Built Heritage of Malacca, Malaysia
Kamarul Syahril Kamal, Lilawati Ab Wahab, and A. Ghafar Ahmad
Malaysia has a rich legacy of historical buildings and monuments with outstanding craftsmanship and architecture quality. Malacca, one of the colonial cities in Malaysia, is known among the locals and foreigners as Historical City. It became an important historic port city of the Straits of Malacca during the Sultanate of Malacca in 15th century. The European and Arab traders including the Portuguese, Dutch and British came to this port city of Malacca in 16th to 18th centuries for the spices, silk and ceramics from the Malay archipelago and China. Such history has made Malacca a multicultural society with unique cultural traditions and heritage buildings can be seen in the city streets. One may easily find buildings and monuments of historical and architectural significance within the city wall, some of which portray a mixture of traditional Eastern and Western architectural styles. Remnants from the colonial pasts can also be seen within the city wall including the Portuguese Porta De Santiago Gate built in 1511, the Dutch Stadthuys built in 1641 and the British Bastion House built in 1910. Realising the importance of conserving heritage buildings for posterity and also to boost heritage tourism in the country, both the Federal and State Government have taken initiatives to gazette these buildings under the present acts and enactments. As a result, many colonial buildings have been conserved and some have been converted into museums, galleries and office buildings. This paper focuses on the colonial built heritage of Malacca, Malaysia, mainly on some conservation issues that arise from several restoration and conservation projects. It also discusses some challenges and initiatives taken by various government agencies and non-governmental organizations in conserving the colonial built heritage of Malacca.