Proposed Malacca founding date needs international ratification

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The Malaysian minister for Information, Communication and Culture says that the proposed revision of the founding of Malacca to 1262 (from 1400) needs to be confirmed by experts from outside of Malaysia before being accepted by the ministry.

Melaka Sultnate’s New Date Need International Ratification – Rais
Bernama, 03 June 2010
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China backs Malaysia's call for Asian Heritage chapter

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26 June 07 (New Straits Times) – Malaysia has previously pushed for an Asian version of UNESCO, and this call for an Asian chapter of UNESCO is now bolstered by backing from China. While I agree with the fact that the World Heritage sites seem skewed towards Europe and America, I can’t help but feel that this push by Malaysia and China (the latter not particularly known for actually treasuring their cultural heritage) is more keyed to economics and the tourist dollar rather that treasuring heritage for heritage’s sake.

China backs call for heritage chapter

The Chinese government supports Malaysia’s proposal for an Asian chapter of the Unesco World Cultural and Natural Heritage centre.

Chinese Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng says his government agrees with Malaysia that Asia, which has its own distinct set of values and principles, deserves its own criteria for what constitutes a world heritage site.

Malaysia decided to propose an Asian version of the list in October 2006 because the government felt the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation is placing too much emphasis on Europe and the US, and not recognising enough heritage and historical sites in Asia.

“The Chinese government supports this proposal to Unesco and will continue to do so vocally in the international arena,” said Sun after a closed-door meeting with Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim at Kompleks Kraft yesterday.

Read about the proposed Asian Chapter of the Unesco World Cultural and Natural Heritage Centre.

Malaysian Heritage minister talks about restoration of Malacca fort

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03 June 2007 (New Straits Times) – Dr Rais Yatim, the Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister of Malaysia in an interview with the New Straits Times about the restoration of the Malacca Fort.

It takes time to get the job done

The man behind the National Heritage Act 2005 has embarked on a multi-million ringgit plan to restore the Malacca Fort. Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim speaks to TAN CHOE CHOE about the project and other topics close to his heart

Q: Recently, you announced that the cabinet had approved RM12.8 million for the reconstruction of the Malacca Fort. What is the objective behind this project?

A: Malacca is where our civilisation began, so anything that we can find via the window of heritage there is important. The fort shows that we have lived through some colonial periods and like most countries, we have survived well.

Some people don’t like to mention our history of colonialism but to me, the occupations of the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British and the Japanese have taught us something. We didn’t simply explode and come into being. Our history and heritage are a salutary lesson in nationhood and a reminder to strengthen our resolve to build a better future.

Read the full interview with Dr Rais Yatim here.

Kinabatangan Valley, The Resting Place Of Timber Coffins

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4 April 2007 (Bernama) – 700-year-old timber coffins found in Sabah, a whole lot of them, from a period where little is known about Sabah and Borneo. The coffins are said to have some similarities with those found in China and Vietnam, which is plausible as Borneo rested in the middle of trade routes between China and Island Southeast Asia – some Chinese accounts also report of Chinese communities living on Borneo.

Kinabatangan Valley, The Resting Place Of Timber Coffins

Lembah Kinabatangan, located in Sabah’s central region, is not only renowned for its vast oil palm plantations. The valley is also the resting place of priceless treasures in the form of “timber coffins”.

It is believed that about 2,000 timber coffins, some as old as 1,000 years, dotted the Kinabatangan Valley, making the area one of the nation’s important archeological sites.

Many of the coffins, made from hard wood like belian and merbau, are found in several caves at the valley.

Among the caves is Agop Batu Tulug in Kampung Batu Putih, Kinabatangan, turned into an archeological site by the Sabah Museum Department on July 6, 1995.

The Sabah Museum authorities, with collaboration from the National Museum and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), are now carrying out restoration works in efforts to conserve the timber coffins found in the valley.

Related Books:
Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula by P. M. Munoz

Govt allocates RM12.8m to reconstruct A'Famosa fort

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18 February 2007 (The Star)

Govt allocates RM12.8m to reconstruct A’Famosa fort

The federal government has approved a RM12.8 million allocation for the reconstruction of Fortaleza D’Malacca or the mighty A’Famosa fort built during the Portuguese or Dutch colonial era in Bandar Hilir here.

Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said said the first phase of the rebuilding work was expected to begin in April or May.

Speaking to reporters after attending a dinner hosted by the Malacca state Wanita Umno on Saturday, he said the Cabinet had agreed for the National Heritage Department to quickly draw up the plan with the assistance of historians in Malacca and several archaeologists.

Cabinet to get report on conservation of caves in Sabah

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5 February 2007 (Borneo Bulletin) – I’m sure Liz Price would be pretty interested in this bit of news…

Cabinet to get report on conservation of caves in Sabah

The Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry will table in the Cabinet a report on the research and conservation of caves in Sabah.

Minister Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim said that with it, there would be a tendency to assist in the efforts, and expenditures for cultural arts and heritage would no longer be considered a wastage.

He said that his ministry would prepare the report which contained research and conservation efforts undertaken by the Sabah Museum Department for submission to the federal government so that heritage was viewed as a valuable product of humanity.

Rais said he made the visit to get a closer look at the heritage especially the caves in Sabah so that he would be able to convince the federal government on studies and efforts to conserve historical places with heritage elements.

Ancient wall stays, tower goes

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4 December 2006 (The Star)

Ancient wall stays, tower goes

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 site’s preservation. The wall is believed to date back to the era of Portuguese rule in Malacca (1511-1641).

Proposed Malacca project to be re-sited to preserve old wall

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4 December 2006 (The Star) – I think this bit of news will bring much joy to the locals, who have been campaigning against the tower for some time.

Proposed Malacca project to be re-sited to preserve old wall

Researchers are excited by the discovery of part of an ancient wall at the construction site of the proposed tower in Malacca.

They believe it could be the remnants of the watchtower called the Middelsburgh Bastion built by the Portuguese in the 16th century to monitor the movements of boats at the entrepot.

Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim will recommend to the Cabinet that the site be preserved and the tower moved to another location.

Related Books:
The Malay Sultanates 1400-1700 (The Encyclopedia of Malaysia)

M'sia Advocates Asian Unesco To Designate Asian Heritage Cities

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12 Sep 2006 (Bernama) – Malaysia is proposing the creation of a Asian version of UNESCO, but this push seems geared more towards promoting tourism, rather than heritage. The article mentions how a 110-metre rotating tower is planned for the historical city of Melaka…

M’sia Advocates Asian Unesco To Designate Asian Heritage Cities

Malaysia will advocate that Asia has its own organisation similar to Unesco to designate heritage cities in the continent, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said Tuesday.

He said Unesco (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) had been recognising cities only in Europe and America under its Heritage Cities programme.

“We in Asia should have a body resembling Unesco, and it could be named the “Asian Cultural and Economic Body”, which will determine how China, the Philippines, Malaysia, India and other countries can obtain such recognition (for their cities),” he told reporters after opening the seventh Malay World, Islamic World (DMDI) convention at the Melaka International Trade Centre (MITC), here.

Rais said the Unesco symbol was used in the tourism business and claimed that many heritage cities with tourism potential had been denied the recognition.