via New Mandala, 28 October 2022: The historic Portuguese Settlement in Malacca is under threat from the Melaka Gateway development, and the alleged lack of a Environmental and Heritage Impact Assessment.
The Melaka Gateway is situated close to the Portuguese Settlement, and the project’s struggle to contend with its slew of associated environmental issues has had a cataclysmic effect on the Kristang community. There has been vocal opposition towards the project’s implementation: in 2018, more than 200 settlement residents protested outside KAJD’s headquarters, some of them lying in coffins while others threw sand over them to symbolise the effect of the project’s reclamation activities on their livelihoods. A primary concern among residents has been the Melaka Gateway’s failure to comply with a critical infrastructural prerequisite: a 750-metre channel that will separate the project site from the settlement’s coast. As it stands, this channel is only 200 metres long, which increases the volume of silt and mud on the settlement’s shoreline. Already, this has caused an increase of flash floods in the area, and a marked decrease in marine life due to the water’s increased turbidity. Martin Theseira, a stalwart Portuguese community activist and our host for this event, tells us that he hasn’t seen any small shrimp—locally known as udang geragau—inland in Melaka for almost a decade. “As this is a seafaring community, cutting off the Portuguese Settlement’s access to the sea is cutting off their lifeline,” he tells us. “For the developers, it’s a matter of profit. For us, it’s a matter of survival.”
Source: “Let the land be”: culture, heritage, and economic development in Melaka – New Mandala
Leave a Reply