Founding date revision sparks online debate

The earlier report of historians wanting to revise the founding date of the Malacca Sultanate to 120 years earlier has, not surprisingly, sparked debate on both sides of the story. Ultimately, the evidence for revising the founding date of Malacca remains vague. It would be great if the historians proposing the revised date for the founding of Malacca published their findings in academic, peer-reviewed journals for public and academic scrutiny rather than waiting for their findings to be “approved by the state authorities”.

Malacca’s founding date stirs debate
The Star, 02 May 2010

The recent announcement by local historians pushing back the founding of the Malacca Sultanate by over 120 years, has attracted both public support and controversy.

While many are in support of the findings, there are also calls for a public forum to be held before the state-appointed panel officially declares 1278 as the date of the founding instead of the widely accepted date of either 1396 or 1400.

The issue has also caught the attention of local bloggers such as Jebat Must Die with fierce debates taking place online.

Maritime Archeological Museum’s Jason Yoong, who supports the findings, said there were artefacts proving the existence of the city in that period.

“Shards of green glazed pottery dating back to the Song Dynasty of between 960 and 1279 have been found over the years.

“There are also odd-shaped tin artefacts discovered from the Malacca River, thought to be a simple form of currency before standard minted coins were used here in the 1400s,” he said, calling for a forum for experts to share their views on the matter.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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